After its failure to implement the centrally sponsored scheme, Mid-Day Meals (MDM) in J&K state, the school education department is deputing a team of officials to Himachal Pradesh for a study tour.
The tour according to officials was planned in wake of the Supreme Court guidelines wherein all the states have been asked to make all expenditures of the scheme available online as well register all the schools on the website.
“As per Supreme Court guidelines, the scheme has provide all details online along with the registration of students as well as the expenditures. Our department is lagging behind in this regard but state government has already given an affidavit saying that the scheme is being implemented online,” a top official in the department said.
He said the department has a huge liability towards Food Corporation of India (FCI) against supply of food grains for schools.
“The implementation process of the scheme has several loopholes here in J&K. The state has a poor performance in running the scheme properly,” he said.
He said the department has also failed to meet the deadline to complete the construction of Kitchen sheds sanctioned during the past many years under the scheme.
“Ministry Human Resource Development (MHRD, has also expressed concern over the poor performance of the scheme as the state has not succeeded to provide MDM to students,” he said.
About making the entire system of MDM scheme online, the official said the Himachal Pradesh has started some innovative methods which have been successful in running the scheme as per the Supreme Court directions.
“So our team headed by a top official of planning department will visit Himachal for a brain storming session and get awareness about the innovative methods implemented by the state,” the official said.
“Same method will be replicated here in order to run the scheme properly in schools,” he said.
He said the department is also mulling to go for outsourcing of the scheme however, the initiative is facing several hiccups in making a successful attempt.
“Some states outside J&K and in Jammu region the education department has already gone for outsourcing of MDM scheme but Kashmir division is yet to decide on it,” he said.
He said several local NGOs approached the school education department regarding the issue however, there has been no breakthrough in it. “We are expecting that the department will able to outsource the scheme in Kashmir region as well,” he said.
Mid Day Meal Scheme was launched in the J&K state in September 2004 with an objective to give a boost to universalization of primary education by increasing enrollment, retention and attendance.