What is the purpose of the mid-day meal program?

Mid-day meal is a National Programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education established on August 15th, 1995 and launched as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme where the Supreme Court of India in 2001 ordered all the state governments and union territories to implement the MDM scheme and offer cooked meals to the children in schools from Government and Government-aided schools.

Through the support of state and central government, Akshaya Patra started the operation of the Mid-day Meal Programme in 2000, where certain rules and guidelines are laid out which relate to child health and growth, proteins required for children for specific age groups, the quantity of calorie intake, quality of grains, etc. The objectives of MDM are stated below-

·   Encouraging the children of disadvantaged sections to attend school regularly and helping them concentrate on classroom activities

·   Improving the nutritional status of the children in Government, Government aided, Local body, EGS, and AIE centers

·   Offering nutritional support to the children of the primary stage in drought-prone areas during summer

Mid-day meal is also a wholesome cooked lunch served to the children in government and government-aided schools. In 2001, the Supreme Court of India passed a mandate stating the compulsion to implement a mid-day meal program for all the children in every government and government-assisted primary school. These schemes aim to improve children’s socialization, increase school enrollment, avoid classroom hunger, empower women through employment, address malnutrition, and increase school attendance.