Are Mid-Day Meals a scam in J-K?

SRINAGAR — In a brazen development, the authorities in Jammu and Kashmir have ‘neither constructed over 4,600 units of kitchen-cum-stores for Mid Day Meals (MDM) nor has surrendered the funds released for it’.

According to the news agency KNO, the Ministry of Education (MoE) said this during the Programme Approval Board (PAB) meeting to consider the Annual Work Plan and Budget in respect of UT Administration of Jammu Kashmir under PM POSHAN for 2022-23.

The officials in the meeting expressed concern over the issue of delay in the release of Adhoc funds by three months from UT authority to schools. “UT has neither constructed 4,697 units of kitchen-cum-stores nor surrendered the funds as directed by previous PAB,” the official said in the meeting.

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He also said that the UT has not yet procured 1311 units of new kitchen devices sanctioned during 2014-15. “The UT has not constituted separate PM POSHAN management units at UT and district levels.”

The official further said that the UT has not conducted testing of food samples. “There is low utilization of MME funds up to December 2021. Only 22 per cent of schools are having school nutrition gardens. The social audit has not been conducted, health check-up of children has not been carried out and de-worming tablets have not been provided to the children during 2021-22,” reads the official document.

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It also reads that “only 19 per cent of children were provided weekly iron and folic acid tablets.”

Regarding the average number of children covered under the scheme with reference to enrollment, the official documents further reveal, “The UT has an enrollment of 5,46,181 children in primary and 2,98,421 children in upper primary. Out of these, on an average basis, 5,29,239 children (97 per cent) in primary and 2,856,16 children (96 per cent) in the upper primary have been covered during the first three quarters of 2021-22.”

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