An evaluation of mid day meal scheme

With the twin objectives of improving health and education of the poor children, India has embarked upon an ambitious scheme of providing mid day meals (MDM) in the government and government-assisted primary schools. The administrative and logistical responsibilities of this scheme are enormous, and, therefore, offering food stamps or income transfer to targeted recipients is considered as an alternative. We show that the alternative delivery mechanism is not feasible in the Indian context, for it may lead to adverse consumption choices by the heads of the targeted households. We also test whether or not the meals offered through MDM scheme provide sufficient nutrition, food safety, and convenience and variety to the targeted children. Laboratory results show that nutritional delivery through the meals is low in comparison to the daily requirements in general, and, much lower in nutrients such as protein, fat, iron, and iodine in relation to the meal quantity in particular.

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