MDM review reveals irregular serving, false reporting
From our correspondent
Itagar, Jan 12: The implementation of Mid-Day Meal (MDM) scheme in Aruchal Pradesh was reviewed in a departmental meeting held under the chairmanship of Education Minister Honchun Ngandam on Thursday.
The meeting was convened to discuss the MDM status in the districts in view of the recent adverse report of the 10th Joint Review Mission (JRM) of the programme. The meeting was attended by all deputy directors of school education (DDSEs), who are the implementing officers of the programme in the districts, an official release stated here on Friday.
The JRM has made 19 observations out of which two were of very serious ture. These relate to irregular serving of MDM and false reporting of number of days of MDM served.
After prolong discussion, the DDSEs were directed to find out and identify the schools where MDM were not being implement properly or not being implemented at all. The DDSEs of the districts where the programme is not being implemented properly have been directed to surrender the MDM food grains to the Centre, as recommended by the 10th JRM.
Responsibility has been fixed on the DDSEs for irregular serving of meal and submission of false reports. The cost of food grains and conversion cost will be recovered from the erring DDSEs in event of false reporting of MDM implementation.
To prevent false reporting, the DDSEs will submit to the Directorate of Elementary Education by January 20 the list of schools where MDM is not being regularly served or not served at all. The food grains against these schools shall have to be surrendered by the DDSEs immediately by submitting monthly report.
Further, the deputy commissioners have been requested to monitor the implementation of MDM in the districts and ensure that the lapses are looked into seriously and corrective steps are taken immediately.
The DDSEs presented their problems in implementing the MDM scheme in the districts. They pointed out that MDM funds are not being released by the State Education Department in time. Even the full fund for last seven months have still not been released by the department to the districts on the ground that the file has not been cleared by the Fince Department.
Rice is available from the FCI but the conversion cost is not available from the government for purchase of cooking items such as dal, oil, salt, green leafy vegetable, etc.. The schools obtained these cooking items on loan from the nearby shops for two-three months, the DDSEs pointed out.
However, these small shops stopped supplying the cooking items when their bills are not cleared by the schools for prolonged period. This leads to irregular serving of MDM in the schools. Similarly, the cook cum helpers are paid Rs 1,000 only per month as a result of which either they are not regular in their cooking duty or they leave their jobs frequently, leading to irregular serving of MDM, the DDSEs said.
The DDSEs further stated that the transport cost of food grains is Rs 260 per quintal, as a result of which the transporters are not willing to carry the food grain up to the schools. The transporters in most of the cases unload the food grains at the Block headquarters rather than schools, leading to non-availability of food grain in the schools and irregular serving of meals.
The DDSEs were provided with the details of the observations of the 10th JRM who visited the state recently. They were also provided with the details of the recommendation of JRM for improving the implementation of the MDM. They have been asked to review the implementation of MDM in the districts by taking corrective steps and streamlining the implementation immediately.