Aim of Mid Day Meal (MDM) Program
The aim of the Mid-Day Meal (MDM) program is to provide nutritious meals to schoolchildren, particularly in primary and upper primary government schools, across India. The program was introduced to address two crucial issues:
- Nutrition and Health: One of the primary objectives of the Mid-Day Meal program is to improve the nutritional status and overall health of school-going children. By providing wholesome and balanced meals during the school day, the program aims to combat malnutrition, which can hinder children's physical and cognitive development.
- Promoting Education: Another important goal of the program is to increase enrollment, retention, and attendance in schools. By offering free mid-day meals, the program aims to incentivize parents to send their children to school regularly, especially in economically disadvantaged areas where access to food can be a barrier to education.
The Mid-Day Meal program was initiated by the Indian government in the early 2000s as a flagship program to promote both education and nutrition. It is one of the world's largest school feeding initiatives, serving millions of children daily. The meals provided under the program typically consist of locally sourced, culturally relevant, and nutritious food items like rice, dal (lentils), vegetables, fruits, and fortified snacks.
By addressing the twin challenges of malnutrition and access to education, the Mid-Day Meal program aims to contribute to the holistic development of children, empower them with better health and education, and break the cycle of poverty in the long run. Additionally, the program has had positive social and economic impacts, including increased school attendance, reduced drop-out rates, and improved community participation in education.