Discriminatory practices in Mid-Day Meal Scheme

Education

GOVERNMENT OF INDIA MINISTRY OF EDUCATION DEPARTMENT OF SCHOOL EDUCATION & LITERACY RAJYA SABHA UNSTARRED QUESTION NO.1318 TO BE ANSWERED ON 22.09.2020 Discriminatory practices in Mid-Day Meal Scheme 1318. DR. AMAR PATNAIK: Will the Minister of Education be pleased to state: (a) whether Government has taken cognizance of the discriminatory practices that occur in the Mid-Day Meal Scheme against people of certain castes including both children and cooks; (b) whether Government has conducted any study to assess such discriminatory practices occurring in the Mid-Day Meal Scheme against people of certain castes; and (c) the steps taken by Government to address such discriminatory practices taking place in the Mid-Day Meal scheme against people of certain castes? ANSWER MINISTER OF EDUCATION (SHRI RAMESH POKHRIYAL ‘NISHANK’) (a) to (c):- The objectives of the Mid-Day Meal Scheme (MDMS) are Improving the nutritional status of children studying in classes I – VIII in Government and Government-aided schools, Special Training Centers (STCs) and madrasas & maqtabs supported under Samagra Shiksha and encouraging poor children, belonging to disadvantaged sections, to attend school more regularly and help them concentrate on classroom activities. Under the scheme children learn to sit together and share a common meal, therefore one can expect some erosion of caste prejudices and class inequality. As per MDM Guidelines, while determining suitability of voluntary organizations for supply of cooked mid-day meal, it is to be ensured by the States/UTs that the voluntary agencies should not discriminate in any manner on the basis of religion, caste and creed. In recent past, one complaint was received regarding mid-day meal being given to Dalit tribal children in the hands in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh during the year 2019. As the overall responsibility for providing cooked and nutritious mid-day meal to the eligible children lies with State Governments/UTs Administrations, the complaint was referred to the concerned State Government for taking necessary action. The State Government, after conducting an enquiry, reported that the report published in the newspaper that mid-day meal was being given to Dalit tribal children in the hands is baseless.