Assessment of Food Contractors Serving Mid Day Meals in Mumbai’s Civic Schools

Assessment of Food Contractors Serving Mid Day Meals in Mumbai’s Civic Schools

ABSTRACT

Designed to provide hot cooked nutritious meals to the children in government owned primary and upper primary schools, the Mid Day Meal Scheme’s (MDMS) main objective is to provide to the children who benefit from it at least a third of the nutrition that they require daily. This endeavour has been a massive one to undertake, given the magnitude of the area being covered and the number of mouths that the programme must feed. While the intention behind the scheme is undoubtedly commendable, the scheme has been regularly marred by accusations of inefficiency, corruption and substandard efforts. Although detailing the shortcomings of the scheme would take a very long time, the main disadvantages can be enumerated in the interest of brevity as a lack of feedback, substandard food quality, a lack of effective monitoring, inefficiency in keeping the children informed of their rights, corruption and a mercenary rather than compassionate attitude on the part of the Food Contractors that leads to a degradation in both the moral quality of the scheme and in the meals that it provides. This study evaluates food contractors on various assessment parameters in relation to adherence to MDMS guidelines and highlights some of the problems faced by them in the effective implementation of MDMS. Food Contractors have to realize that there can be no room for compromise and laxity in the implementation and execution of such a critical welfare programme which has a direct bearing on nation-building.

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