One of the major reasons for dropout is the socio economic status of the families of the children. Most of the children attending Government Schools belong to the rural families of Assam. They are invariably from Below Poverty Line (BPL) families. Both the parents go for work either on the farm or outside and comeback in the evening. The children are sent to school after light breakfast or empty stomach and come back in the evening. Invariably they are compelled to skip their lunch or leave the school frequently and dropout after some time.
With a view to enhancing enrolment, retention and attendance and simultaneously improving nutritional levels among children, the National Programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education (NP-NSPE) was launched as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme on 15th August 1995.
In the year 2001, MDMS became a cooked Mid-Day-Meal Scheme under which every child in every Government and Government aided primary school was to be served a prepared Mid-Day-Meal with a minimum content of 300 calories of energy and 8-12 gram protein per day for a minimum of 200 days. The Scheme was further extended in 2002 to cover not only children studying in Government, Government aided and local body schools, but also children studying in Education Guarantee Scheme (EGS) and Alternative & Innovative Education (AIE) centres.
In September 2004, the Scheme was revised to provide for Central Assistance for Cooking cost @ Re 1 per child per school day to cover cost of pulses, vegetables cooking oil, condiments, fuel and wages and remuneration payable to personnel or amount payable to agency responsible for cooking. Transport subsidy was also raised from the earlier maximum of Rs.50 per quintal to Rs.100 per quintal for special category states and Rs.75 per quintal for other states. Central assistance was provided for the first time for management, monitoring and evaluation of the scheme @ 2% of the cost of food grains, transport subsidy and cooking assistance. A provision for serving mid day meal during summer vacation in drought affected areas was also made.
In July 2006, the Scheme was further revised to enhance the cooking cost to Rs.1.80 per child/school day for States in the North Eastern Region and Rs.1.50 per child / school day for other States and UTs. The nutritional norm was revised to 450 Calories and 12 gram of protein. In order to facilitate construction of kitchen-cum-store and procurement of kitchen devices in schools provision for Central assistance @ Rs.60,000/- per unit and @ Rs.5,000 per school in phased manner were made.
In October 2007, the Scheme was extended to cover children of upper primary classes (i.e. class VI to VIII) studying in 3,479 Educationally Backwards Blocks (EBBs) and the name of the Scheme was changed from ‘National Programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education’ to ‘National Programme of Mid Day Meal in Schools’. The nutritional norm for upper primary stage was fixed at 700 Calories and 20 grams of protein. The Scheme was extended to all areas across the country from 01.04.2008.
The Scheme was further revised in April 2008 to extend the scheme to recognized as well as unrecognized Madarsas / Maqtabs supported under SSA.
Mid-Day-Meal Scheme provides school meals, which act as a strong incentive for parents to send their children to schools and help to build the nutritional foundation that is essential for a child’s future intellectual development and physical well being.
Mid-Day-Meal Programme has been started in the State of Assam with effect from January, 2005. The Programme is expected to boost and sustain the pace of achieving the objectives like universal enrolment, universal retention and quality improvement.
The State Government has transferred the implementation of Mid-Day Meal Scheme from Director, Elementary Education, Assam to SSA, Assam w.e.f. 01-01-2014. The scheme of Mid-Day Meal has now been running under the direct supervision of SSA, Assam w.e.f. 01-01-2014.
Objectives of the Mid Day Meal Programme: