Launched in 1995, the midday meal is a program by the government of India wherein midday meals are provided to students in various schools for the betterment of nutritional standing of school children in our country. Under this scheme, free meals are provided to school children in primary and upper primary classes in government schools and academic centers.

Midday meal scheme is the largest scheme worldwide; it serves meals to 120,000,000 children in more than 1,265,000 government schools and academic centers.

Objectives

This scheme is implemented for students in classes 1–8 with a primary objective of enhancing the enrollment, retention, and attendance of students in schools and take care of their nutritional aspects.

Midday meal scheme aims to avoid classroom hunger, increase student enrollment and attendance in schools, improve socialization and unity among various caste members, eliminate malnutrition, and promote women empowerment.

Meal provision

Under this scheme, the following nutritional guidelines are followed for each child on a daily basis:

Each child receives calories, proteins, rice/wheat, dal, vegetables, and oil and fat; entitlement norm for primary classes is 450, 12 g, 100 g, 20 g, 50 g, and 5 g, whereas that for upper primary classes is 700, 20 g, 150 g, 30 g, 75 g, and 7.5 g, respectively.

Under the midday meal scheme, a separate provision of cook-cum-helper has been made in every government school; the cook is paid nearly Rs. 1000/month. One such cook is employed in a school with up to 25 students, whereas two cooks are employed in schools with 26–100 students. Under this scheme, kitchen appliances and required storage services are also provided by the government.

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