Delhi government will hire an agency to test mid-day meals served in its schools to ensure that the meals meet the prescribed standards of quality and nutritional value, according to officials.
The midday meal or PM-POSHAN scheme, under which hot cooked meals are served to address the nutritional needs of children, covers government and government-aided school students of classes I-VIII, as well as pre-primary classes. During closure of schools due to the pandemic, the food security allowance was continued through the distribution of dry ration kits.
“The government will hire an agency which will pick random samples from schools as well as the kitchens and godowns. Samples of both the cooked food as well as raw materials will be tested at regular intervals,” an official of the Directorate of Education (DoE) said.
“The idea is to ensure that only quality meals are served to children in schools and the prescribed nutritional value is not compromised.
According to official data, there are 8.24 lakh beneficiaries in over 1200 state run schools in the national capital.
However, the Programme Approval Board (PAB), which decides the work plan and budget for the midday meal scheme annually, noted in its recent meeting that over 4.8 lakh children were left out of the midday meal scheme during the 2021-22 academic session in Delhi due to shortage of foodgrains.
The Delhi government in collaboration with Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) in April had also started a social audit of distribution of dry ration under mid-day meal scheme.