Students at primary government school in Mirzapur are being served plain chapatis and salt under midday meal scheme. The ‘nutritious’ food is served under the flagship programme. Though the website of the Uttar Pradesh mid-day meal authority shows pulses rice, rotis and vegetables as part of the menu, the ground reality is far from the claims. After the photos went viral on social media, the authorities sprang into action. Reacting to the development, District Magistrate Anurag Patel said, "negligence happened at teacher and supervisor's level. The teacher has been suspended. A response has been sought from supervisor."
Patel also said that “the basic shiksha adhikari (BSA) has been instructed to carry out a probe into the matter and ensure strict action against those responsible for it. There should be no laxity in it.”
Kajal, a student at the school was quoted as saying by news agency ANI, "I had salt with chappatis today in my lunch. Sometimes, we are given vegetables with chappatis but for today's meal we just got salt." Several other children at the school claimed they had not received any milk too during the meal.
According to the official website of the Midday Meal Scheme, more than 25.25 lakhs cook-cum-helper are engaged by the State/UTs during 2016-17. The scheme is the world’s largest school meal programme and reaches an estimated 12 crore children across 12 lakh schools in India.
In 2002, the Supreme Court directed the government to provide cooked midday meals (as opposed to providing dry rations) in all government and government aided primary schools. Calorie norms for the meals have been regularly revised starting from 300 calories in 2004, when the scheme was relaunched as the Midday Meal Scheme. Currently, the scheme provides children in government aided schools and education centres a cooked meal for a minimum of 200 days.