One of the pioneers of the scheme is the Madras that started providing cooked meals to children in corporation schools in the Madras city in 1923.The programme was introduced in a large scale in 1960s under the Chief Ministership of K. Kamaraj.The first major thrust came in 1982 when Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Dr. M. G. Ramachandran, decided to universalise the scheme for all children up to class 10.Tamil Nadu's mid-day meal programme is among the best known in the country.
Less known, but equally interesting is the history of Pondicherry, which started universal school feeding as early as 1930. There is an interesting story about how K. Kamaraj got the idea of a noon meal scheme.He saw a few boys busy with their cows and goats.He asked one small boy, "What are you doing with these cows? Why didn't you go to school?" The boy immediately answered, "If I go to school, will you give me food to eat? I can learn only if I eat." The boy's retort sparked the entire process into establishing the mid-day meal programme. ..more
Several other states of India also have programmes.The most notable among them is Gujarat that has had it since the late 1980s.Kerala started providing cooked meals in schools since 1995 and so did Madhya Pradesh and Orissa in small pockets.On November 28, 2001 the Supreme Court of India gave a landmark direction to government to provide cooked meals to all children in all government and government assisted primary schools.The direction was resisted vigorously by State governments initially, but the programme has become almost universal by 2005.
Office of commissioner of midday meal and schools is an office of divisional head under administrative control of education department of state government. This office manages the development and maintenance of general education after primary education of std. 7. This office and the offices under it gives the administrative instructions and has control over the secondary and higher secondary education, also the responsibility of approving grant to non government educational and other special institutes. District education officer has been given direct responsibility.
Mid Day Meal Programme
Mid Day Meal programme in Gujarat is at half way. Because of this programme, enrollment in primary school had substantially increased and drop out ration had substantially decreased. Hon. Supreme Court had given a top priority to this programme. But till to day it is largely a Government programme run by bureaucratic set up. People's participation in this programme is very less.
Now in coming days it is a challenge for society to turn MDM programme into a mass movement. In coming days Government can work as only a facilities, it can provide basic infrastructure facilities and finance to some extent, but majority participation should come from the people, N.G.Os., industry and social religious charitable institutions. In Gujarat change is on the cards, but some exclamation is needed, so that Mid-Day Meal programme can achieve its target quickly effectively and efficiently.
The guidelines issued by G.O.I. under NP-NSPE with a commitment to reimburse Rs. 1 per day per child, some cost of under transportation and MME is very much welcomed. But the fact we have std. I to VII in primary sections and that w have been feeding all the primary children since 1984, we can not separate the children of std. VI & VII, merely on the bases of NP-NSPE, which is meant for std. I to V. We suggest that similar cost should be financed to the students for these children. We have 29.96 lakh beneficiaries from std. I to V and 7.61 lakh from std. VI & VII.