Mid-day Meal Scheme under scrutiny of RTI Act | india | Hindustan Times
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Mid-day Meal Scheme under scrutiny of RTI Act

india Updated: Oct 24, 2006 13:11 IST

In deference to the Right to Information (RTI) Act, schools will now have to display information regarding the quantity, quality and utilisation of food served under the Mid-day Meal Scheme.

They will also have to furnish the number of children given mid day meals, the daily menu, and roster of community members involved in the programme. This is one of the steps the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) has asked states to take for monitoring the implementation of the Mid-Day Meal (MDM) Scheme and its impact.

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Schools to display detailed information of food served under the MDM Scheme

State governments to fix monthly targets for inspections of meals and evolve formats of questionnaires to be filled by officials

On an average, 25 per cent of primary schools to be visited every quarter. The rest, once a year.

States and UTs to develop mechanism for public grievance redressal which should be widely publicised and easily accessible

As far as possible, field visits should be made unannounced. They should be used for critical observation and interviewing broad range of individuals involved in the programme.

Findings of the reports should be documented and reported in the Steering-cum-Monitoring Committee meetings at all levels and suitable remedial/corrective measures should be initiated without any delay.

Institutions currently undertaking monitoring of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan have also been entrusted the task of monitoring the MDM Scheme. The services of the same institutions could be utilised for undertaking evaluation of MDM programme.

States have also been asked to develop a sound system of accounting procedure and reporting as well as a computer-based Management Information System (MIS) for MDMS, which is robust and reliable.

The Department of School Education and Literacy is in the process of developing a Web enabled MIS to ensure effective and de-centralised planning process based on relevant and useful data, smooth and timely flow of food grains and cooking assistance, prompt information about food grain/fund utilisation, better Inventory control, timely and automatic report generation, transparency & wider dissemination of information on implementation of MDMS.

They are to establish MIS cell with computers with Internet facility and position MIS co-coordinators/data entry operators to maintain accounts and generate reports at district level, co-ordinate with District NIC center for the purpose of building up of e-network for effective monitoring of implementation of MDM Scheme.

States are also expected to conduct at least one evaluation study through an external agency utilising the funds released under Management, Monitoring & Evaluation (MME). For this, they are required to utilise the grants released under the Management, Monitoring & Evaluation component of MDM Scheme.