NHRC notice to Uttar Pradesh Govt. over reported serving of salt and rotis instead of wholesome nutritious food in Mid Day Meal

The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, India has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports that a video of children being served salt and rotis in their Mid-Day-Meal at a government-run primary school has gone viral on social media. The video is of Siyur Primary School under Jamalpur block, District Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh. Reportedly, the authorities have suspended two teachers, apparently in an immediate damage control exercise.

The Commission has issued a notice to the Chief Secretary, Government of Uttar Pradesh calling for a detailed report on the matter within four weeks. The Commission would like to know about the status of the Mid-Day-Meal Scheme across the State in case of Government and Government-assisted primary schools about the quality of food and the food items are normally being provided to the children according to the Mid-Day-Meal scheme from the State Government.

Issuing the notice the Commission has observed that the contents of the media reports are shocking and disgraceful that despite the Mid-Day-Meal Scheme for children in the government-run schools, apparently, are not getting the nutritious food. It is the duty of the teacher in the government school to follow the scheme of Mid-Day-meal in letter and spirit instead of indulging in the poor practice of not providing nutritious food according to the scheme.

It has further observed that in the year 2001, the Supreme Court passed an order stated that a basic entitlement of every child in every Government and Government-assisted primary schools with a prepared Mid-Day-Meal with a minimum content of 300 calories and 8-12 grams of protein each day of school for a minimum of 200 days. The Government of India in consonance with the objectives set forth by the Supreme Court has designed to improve the school meal programme under the Mid-Day-Meal Scheme by providing nutritious food to the school-age children nationwide. A majority of the population in India is still unable to get at least one complete square meal a day. The scheme of Mid-Day-Meal has been framed to liberate the underprivileged children from the vicious cycle of poverty and illiteracy by serving them sanctified and nutritious Mid-Day-Meal with the following objectives:

  •  Improve the effectiveness of primary education by improving the nutritional status of children thereby reducing malnutrition.
  • Attract children from disadvantaged sections, especially girls from Dalits and Adivasi tribes to school, thereby increasing attendance, reducing dropout rates & promoting women empowerment through literacy.
  • Promote a feeling of oneness and secularism amongst various different religions and culture.

According to the media reports, carried on the 24th August, 2019, the instructions were to provide Mid-Day-Meal as per the prescribed menu and efforts are on to ascertain whether seniors were informed that salt and Rotis were being served. It is further mentioned in the news report, as per norms under the Flagship Nutrition Scheme, pulses, rice, rotis, vegetables with fruits and milk on certain days are to be served to school-going children to ensure necessary nutrition to them.

[Press Release dt. 26-08-2019]

National Human Rights Commission

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