Financial anomalies in meal scheme for schoolchildren

September 6th, 2008 - 7:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, Sep 6 (IANS) An inquiry has been ordered into financial irregularities in funds meant for the Mid-Day Meal (MDM) scheme, which is the world’s largest school feeding programme, in Uttar Pradesh’s Basti district, an official said Saturday.”About Rs.70,000 has been illegally withdrawn from MDM funds deposited in a nationalised bank,” Devesh Rai, Basti basic shiksha adhikari, told IANS on phone.

Rai said an inquiry has been ordered.

In the beginning of this academic session in July, about Rs.165,000 were allocated for providing lunch under the scheme to students of various schools in Basti district, officials said.

In Uttar Pradesh, MDM covers about 150,000 schools, under which lunch is provided to students of various classes till Class 8, officials added.

The National Programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education, popularly known as the Mid Day Meal Scheme covers nearly 120 million children. It has emerged as the world’s largest school feeding programme.

The scheme, launched Aug 15 1995, was revised in September 2004 with the objectives to boost universalisation of primary education by improving enrolment, attendance, retention, and learning levels of children especially those belonging to disadvantaged sections, and to improve nutritional status of students of primary stage.

The scheme envisages a provision of a cooked mid-day meal with minimum calorie content of 300 calories and 8-12 grams of protein for all children studying in Classes 1-5.

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