Programme hit by shortage of food grains, delay in fund release: Report
MID-DAY MEAL SCHEME
Srinagar, May 7: Although Jammu and Kashmir Government is painting a rosy picture on the implementation of centrally sponsored Mid Day Meal (MDM) scheme in the Valley, the third party monitoring reports, however, belie these official assertions by picking up holes in the program.
A cursory look at the half yearly monitoring reports prepared between October 2010 to March 2011 and April 2011 to September 30 2011 by State Resource Centre of University of Kashmir, reveals that MDM program of Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) is affected by the non-availability of food grains and delay in release of the funds here.
The monitoring of the world’s largest feeding program was done in Pulwama, Baramulla, Islamabad (Anantnag), Srinagar, Leh and Kargil by the Monitoring Institution (MI)- State Resource Centre of KU. About 240 schools were covered under monitoring program funded by MHRD.
According to the report the feeding program was interrupted in Pulwama district due to non-availability of food grains.
“The MDM was not served regularly as the food grains were not available due to non-availability of the grains at the government depots. Extent of delay was 2-3 weeks during the year 2010-11. In rural areas schools were functional for 180-210 days, but MDM scheme was served for 120-140 days only. In district Pulwama food grains allotted were 976.61 Metric Tonnes and only 480.82 MTs were lifted and utilized,” the report reveals.
The document also points out other flaws like delay in releasing of cooking cost, ignorance of MDM in-charge and school authorities over other aspects of the program.
“Cooking cost and honorarium to cooks is released after two to three months delay. School authorities manage to serve MDM to students but at times it is very difficult to so do to paucity of funds,” the report reads, adding, “No micro-nutrients or de-worming medicine is given to students in any of the schools visited by MI. Infact MDM in-charge and school authorities are found ignorant about administering de-worming medicine and micro-nutrients to the school children.”
In north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, the report reveals that buffer stock of one month is not maintained in any of the school and in some cases the quality of food provided to children was found substandard.
While in south Kashmir’s Islamabad (Anantnag) district, there is “delay in release of cooking cost by 3-4 months and the educational institutions have not displayed menu on the noticeable place or community”.
Similar findings have made been made about Srinagar district after MI visited number of schools to assess the implementation of the program. “In 39 visited schools the students are neither given micronutrients nor de-worming medicine,” the report says.
Similarly in Kargil and Leh, the report says that there are problematic areas like community participation, teacher’s role in MDM, nutritional status.
“There should be one person wholly & solely responsible for MDM programme in each school & not a teacher. Because a teacher if involved in MDM programme like lifting of
Grains, keeping account of MDM cooking etc, is deviating him from his teaching work, as has been reported by all the teachers in the schools,” it adds.
The report also reveals that the feeding program for school children lacks supervision in six districts covered by the Monitoring Institution. “Mid-Day-Meal Programme is hardly supervised by any State,
District or Block Level officers. Supervision of Village Education Committees/Urban Bodies/parents is non existent in all the districts under monitoring. Thus the loopholes/shortcomings in the implementation of MDM never come to fore for the timely remedial measures,” the report reads.
It is worth to mention here that Fozia Inam Ashia is nodal officer for 3rd party monitoring of MDM in JK.
Despite repeated attempts, Director School Education Kashmir, Shagufta Praveen did not pick up the phone.
Lastupdate on : Mon, 7 May 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 7 May 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 8 May 2012 00:00:00 IST
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