MHRD censures JK for tardy implementation of MDM scheme

‘Review Mission’ Points Out Poor Accountability, Transparency

MUDDASIR ALI

Srinagar, Jan 3: The Union Ministry for Human Resource Development (MHRD) has snubbed state government for poor implementation of the Mid Day Meal (MDM) scheme in Jammu and Kashmir.
 The Ministry has pointed out that disruption in regular supply of meals, poor accountability, shortage in release of funds for cooking cost, delay in reimbursement of funds to teaching staff and cooks was plaguing implementation of the Government of India-funded program aimed at enhancing enrollment, retention and simultaneously improving nutritional levels among children.
 The loopholes were pointed out by 4th Joint Review Mission of MDM conducted from 24 to 30 September 2012 by a team comprising representatives from Government of India, Supreme Court Commissionerate for MDM and JK government.
 The report was communicated by the Additional Secretary MHRD, School Department, Dr Amarjit Singh to the state government vide communication (DO No: 11-12/2012 EE6-MDM-1), which is in possession of Greater Kashmir.
 The ministry has noted that the scheme was hit by frequent disruption in providing the meals to students due to non availability of food grains despite availability of funds.
 “It indicates systemic failure in implementation of the scheme,” mentions the letter.
 The ministry has questioned accountability and transparency in MDM execution citing in most of the visited schools the records were not maintained properly and cooking cost was paid through self/bearer cheques, increasing chances of money being siphoned off.
 It has noted there was limited monitoring and community involvement with restricted role of Village Elected Committee members and PRIs in MDM implementation.
 “The scheme needs close monitoring by dedicated staff for its implementation at all levels,” the union ministry has written.  “Some of these issues could have been addressed if the Committee meets regularly. It has not happened despite repeated reminders from centre to the state.”
 The ministry has asked the state government to better the performance.
Transportation of food grains:
 Observing that the hectic transportation system was affecting the program, the ministry has asked the state to reduce the present multi-level transportation stages (FCI - CAPD - ZEO Stores - Schools) to ensure better implementation.
Shortage of funds for cooking
 The Review Mission has reported to the union ministry that the scheme was hit by shortage of funds for cooking cost in all the schools visited.
 In both Kashmir and Jammu division the costs were not reimbursed late.
 This delayed re-imbursement process has compromised quality of meal provided and shifted entire responsibility of managing them on teachers, the ministry has noted.
Deviation of norms:
 The communication mentions that cooks were not appointed as per norms- one cook up to 25 children and two cooks for 25 to 100 children.
 Instead it was found that in many schools with more than 100 children only one cook was appointed which was affecting the teaching-learning process.
 Also the field observation revealed that cooks were not provided honorarium on time and there were huge delays.
Rented schools a problem:
 It has been found that in Kashmir hundreds of schools were located in rental buildings and Government was not providing them with kitchen sheds and they were lacking adequate space for preparing meals.
 Taking serious note of it the ministry has asked state to set up cluster kitchens for supplying cooked meal to the students in rented school.
Health programs:
 The School Health Program- a part of the MDM- was not implemented properly in the state, the ministry has written to the state.
 During its review the Team also covered 28 schools in two districts- Ganderbal and Udhampur and presented its report to the State Government on 30th September 2012.

Lastupdate on : Thu, 3 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 3 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 4 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST




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