June 09, 2006, Hindustan Times

Mid- Day meal scheme running in the government and aided primary schools is being liked by more than ninety percent students. The quality of the meal is also above average. It has shown the positive impact on the education and health of the students. Though the mid day scheme has not increased the particular girl child in schools as expected.

These facts were presented in state level dissemination meeting organised by CUTS ā€“ Centre for Consumer Action, research & training (CUTS-CART) in association with World Bank at Institute of Development Studies on Thursday. These facts have emerged out of the survey and expenditure tracking conducted by CUTS organisation in Chittorgarh district.

During last three years lifting of the food grain by the state government was sixty seven percent on an average against the sanctioned food grains by Government of India. The unutilised fund remaining with the districts is increasing year over year, pointed out the survey.

Addressing the met, MLA Nathu Singh Gujar said that due to Mid Day Meal Scheme dropout rate has reduced, the scheme has also shown the positive impact on health of students. Though, there are some lacunas in the scheme that can be addressed only by ensuring people awareness and public participation.

MLA and the President, Public Accounts Committee, C.P.Joshi emphasized over the need to fix accountability, he suggested for improving the traditional accounting system and also includes the need of social audit. Joshi also stressed upon that government should decentralise the whole system to the Panchayati Raj Institutions.

Presiding over the meeting, the Accountant General (Audit), Rajasthan, Jaipur Saroj Punhani said that the Audit Department is also involve in time-to-time review of the MDM scheme and the report forwarded to the state. She assured that the accounting system would be improved by incorporating social audit. She emphasized over the need of creating awareness among the people about the accounting system.

Divisional Commissioner Mr. Rajendra Bhanawat stressed that the utility of the evaluation is significant only when it is act upon. He also pointed out the fact that funds are being misused by infringing the attendance of the students, and the quality of education has not improved upto the expected level.

S.S Acharya, IDS, pointed out the fact that involvement of teachers in the MDM activities hampering the teaching work, which affect the quality of education.

George Cheriyan, Associate Director of CUTS-CART, Jaipur, briefed the objective and other important aspects of the scheme and about the social accountability tool of the survey.