MDM scheme fails to provide meals to kids on required days
Srinagar: The school education department has failed to provide Mid Day Meals (MDM) on every working day in schools across the state.
As per the MHRD guidelines, the schools are supposed to provide MDM for 220 working days for both primary and upper primary level.
However, the schools have served meals on 178 working days for primary and 179 working days for upper primary schools.
The revelation came to fore in the Project Approval Board (PAB) meeting convened in New Delhi last month.
Under the performance Grading Index (PGI), the J&K state has got nine against the weightage of 10.
However, the education department has attributed the issue to the frequent closure of educational institution ordered by the state administration in view of law and order situation.
“During the year, 42 days in primary and 41 days in Upper Primary School could not be covered due to holidays announced by some of district administration on account of non-healthy social environment in the State,” an official document submitted by the state government reads.
The state authorities have been asked by MHRD to provide statement of expenditure indicating that 60 percent or more funds have been utilized against the funds made available.
“Expenditure statement should also indicate the release of central share and State share from previous installment to State implementing Agencies from the Treasury,” the document reads.
The state has been asked to provide confirmation in the prescribed format that it has released the minimum mandatory state share against the shareable components viz. cooking cost and honorarium to the cook-cum-helpers.
Notably, the state has been asked to submit Utilization Certificate in form 12-C of General Financial Rules for the previous release along with the confirmation of release of minimum mandatory share by the state and physical and financial progress of the sanctioned units for construction of kitchen-cum-stores, procurement and replacement of kitchen devices and repair of ten years old kitchen-cum-stores.
“All procurement activities for kitchen devices, wherever possible, are to be carried out invariably through the GeM Portal only,” the document reads.
Pertinently, the State Administrative Council (SAC) on Wednesday approved the action of the School Education Department in putting in place a mechanism for implementation of the Mid-Day Meal (MDM) Scheme in Government Schools through Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs).
The School Education Department had notified a mechanism vide Government Order No: 202-Edu of 2019, dated 17.06.2019 for implementation of the MDM through PRIs, which was confirmed by the SAC today.
The preparation and distribution of MDM in Primary (1-5) and Middle (6-8) Schools shall be carried out by the Halqa Panchayats through a 10 member Community Level Committee headed by Sarpanch/Administrator or Panch nominated by the Sarpanch utilizing the services of cook-cum-helpers already engaged for the purpose.
The Halqa Panchayat shall ensure preparation and distribution of MDM on each school day, fulfilling the minimum norms of nutrition prescribed under the scheme.
The funds for the purpose shall be managed by the Panchayati Raj Institutions from a separate MDM account held jointly by the Head of School and the Sarpanch/Administrator or his nominee Panch.