The midday meal scheme was started all over India in 2001, and has proved very successful so far. The scheme provides school-children with a lunch free of cost on all working days. The main aim of the program was to address malnutrition by ensuring that every child would have at least one nutritious meal every day, and enhancing school enrollment and attendance, since kids are encouraged by the meal to attend school. The scheme had other benefits as well, such as helping kids to concentrate on classroom activities, improving socialization among children belonging to different castes, and providing employment to women to cook the midday meal.
Surely, the scheme has not always been successful, but it does remain an ambitious program that has shown some remarkable successes, such as in the school where Sarwat, our Community Correspondent in Chhattisgarh, came to investigate the issue. There, food quality is satisfying and pupils are enjoying their midday meals. Meanwhile school attendance has improved. Sarwat was happy to witness this success, to see the energy of these school children, for whom the midday meal is sometimes a crucial part of their diet, and to be able to make a joyful video.