The mid-day meal scheme in UP is in for a boost. The State Education Department has decided to go for an external audit of the scheme by the World Bank.
The department thinks external audit would give an unbiased picture about the success of the scheme. Moreover, the integrity of a World Bank report would not be questioned, the officers feel. The department has already sent a proposal for the job to the World Bank.
The department is also taking other measures for the success of the scheme. A separate account would be created for the effective functioning of the scheme at the village panchayat level. Block and district level coordinators will be appointed to monitor the scheme. Panchyat mitras will also overview the scheme. These decisions were taken after an Education Department workshop on 'home like mid-day meal for schoolchildren' concluded in Lucknow on Wednesday.
Talking about the decisions, JS Deepak, secretary primary education, said: "External evaluation will be an acid test for the mid-day meal scheme."
He said: "In a bid to bring efficiency and to support the existing system, it is imperative that district level coordinators and computers be operated as BSAs finds it difficult to manage so many things single handedly." Further, it was resolved that BSAs after compiling data and feedback would prepare a report on monthly basis so that a record could be maintained.
Principal Secretary (food and civil supplies) has assured to let the Education Department staff to take food grains from FCI store a month in advance so that distribution work was not hampered. Sample of the food grains would be made available so it could be matched with the actual stuff being supplied. Even at the school level, the sample would be preserved so that it could be matched whenever required.
Principal Secretary (Panchyati Raj) has also agreed to let newly appointed panchayat mitras to monitor the scheme. Director of MDM Authority Kamran Rizvi said it was even recommended to provide double cylinder connection to schools to save on cooking time.
Meanwhile, Basic Education Minister Kiran Pal Singh called upon the officials to make mid-day meal a flagship scheme. He expressed satisfaction with the functioning of themed-day meal directorate/authority.