In view of the forced leaves in the schools of the State on account of the threat posed by the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), the education department of Uttarakhand has decided to transfer the money of the Mid Day Meal (MDM) into the bank accounts of the children.
The department would transfer an amount of Rs 5 Crore in the bank accounts of 6.89 lakh students of Government schools of the State. This amount is being transferred for the MDM of 14 days of the leaves.
The schools of the State are closed till March 31 due to the threat of COVID-19. Confirming the measure, the Joint Director MDM, P K Bisht told The Pioneer that the objective of the decision is to ensure that there is no financial restraint on the parents of the children to provide nutritious meal to them during these days of forced holidays.
He said that an amount of Rs 4.48 per day is spent on the MDM of a primary student while Rs 6.71 is spent on the students of middle classes.
The mid-day meals scheme is a crucial intervention in the education system which ensures that children are retained in school and that they are able to make better use of the benefits afforded by the Government schools for furthering their education.
In Uttarakhand, the union government bears 90 percent of the total cost of MDM while the State Government has to shell out 10 percent of the cost. The annual budget of MDM in Uttarakhand is Rs 194 Crore.
The schools are provided food grains (rice and wheat) while they had to manage other food items on their own from the budget provided.
The teachers are given responsibility for managing MDM in their schools. Bhojan Matas are employed in the schools to prepare the meal for the students.
In addition to routine diet the students are also provided special diets like Kheer and Chole Puri on occasions like Independence Day, Republic Day, Teacher’s Day, Children’s Day and others to the students in the same Budget.