Attempting to usher transparency and remove corruption from mid-day meal distribution, Rajasthan government has initiated an SMS-based system through which meal data will be sent everyday by schools to a toll free number that will be monitored at the State-level.
Earlier, the per-day mid-day meal data was reported on a monthly basis to the district education department. Under the new system launched today, the mid-day meal in-charge of the school will have to send the meal data immediately after serving food to students, to a tollfree number that would be checked at the State level every day, District Education Officer (Secondary set up), Paras Chand Jain said.
The in-charge has to report everyday about the type of school, the students’ attendance status, number of students benefited by the mid-day meal and the quantity of food items used for the meal, he said.
The new system would bring transparency and reduce possibility of manipulation of data in the mid-day meal programme, said a teacher posted in a senior secondary school here. Currently, a total 62.50 lakh students from Classes I-VIII in 73,199 government schools and elementary education institutions of the State are availing the scheme, according to data available on the mid-day meal programme’s website.
The cooking in at least 68,729 schools for 58.58 lakh students is managed by School Management Committees (SMC) while the rest are looked after by a central kitchen, Annpurna Mahila Samities or by different NGOs.
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According to the data, a total of 1,19,071 cooks — including 1,05,902 women and 13,169 men — are engaged in mid-day meal cooking programme across the State. The Scheme is a school meal programme of the Government of India designed to improve the nutritional status of school-age children nationwide. The programme supplies free lunches on working days for children in primary and upper primary classes in government, government-aided, local body, Education Guarantee Scheme, and alternative innovative education centres.