The Government of India is committed to the Flagship schemes of School Education including the Mid-Day Meal Scheme and the Ministry of Human Resource Development would like to present the correct picture against various media reports which are reporting budgetary cuts in the scheme. The Mid-Day Meal programme covers about 10.33 crore children studying in elementary schools in the government, government-aided schools and special training centres for mainstreaming the out of school children.
The MDM programme is being administered in all the States and Union Territories of the country on an agreed funding pattern. Moreover, there has been significant increase in devolution of central revenues to the States under the 14th Finance Commission, whereby 42 percent of the revenues are being devolved to the States as against 32% earlier. Furthermore, the budget estimate for the MDM programme has been made at the level of Rs 9,236 crores for 2015-16. It is likely to be increased at the supplementary stage in case of further requirements.
The Government of India has, in fact, issued improved guidelines for quality control and safety in the MDM programme to all States and UTs so as to enhance the implementation of the programme. Good practices among State Governments have also been shared across the country including the practice of Tithi Bhojan to enhance the local community participation in the scheme which have enthused many States to improve the administrative support for the MDM programme. The Central Government has in fact enhanced outlays for States affected by drought for which an additional Rs.466.70 crores has been approved under the MDM scheme to provide children at the elementary school level, with a mid-day meal during the current summer vacations, as well.