Inspired by the way Mayawati government, the Central government has decided to replicate the Uttar Pradesh model to track mid-day meal scheme to cross-check if children get their hot meal in schools.
The HRD ministry has decided to have a nation-wide short messaging service (SMS) alert system to monitor the Rs 10,000 crore mid-day meal scheme. Under the scheme, the school children till upper primary level are provided hot cooked meal once a day.
Mayawati government in UP was the first to introduce a software based SMS system, wherein the school principal and a few parents received an automatic message the day less than 50 percent or a large number of school children were served mid-day meal.
The SMS was generated on basis of information on mid-day meal feed by teacher in-charge of the scheme into an online monitoring system. The principal was required to give an explanation through SMS and parents to verify the claim.
A senior HRD ministry official said the national system will be improvement of the UP model and no money will be charged from parents for sending an SMS system to the national server. A successful pilot has been implemented in Bihar and the ministry expects to cover 12 lakh schools across India by June this year.
Every school will have to feed information regarding the mid-day meal served to children every day and the type of food. They will be required to provide details about the quantity of food-grains they received and the amount used.
The entire information generated would be in public domain on the new mid-day meal website. “It will help in curbing corruption and ensure that children get good quality food,” HRD minister Kapil Sibal said, after launching the website on which the mid-day meal scheme information will be available.
The UPA government has been critical of UP government over implementation of Central schemes and had detected irregularities in National Rural Health Mission and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. But, the government had no problem in adopting a UP’s innovation.