The Delhi government will hire an agency to test the midday meals served in its schools to ensure the meals meet prescribed standards of quality and nutritional content, officials said. The midday meal or PM-POSHAN scheme, which serves hot cooked meals to meet the nutritional needs of children, covers the government and government-aided students of grades I-VIII, as well as kindergarten classes. During the closure of schools due to the pandemic, the food security benefit continued through the distribution of dry ration packs.
“The government will hire an agency that will take random samples from schools, kitchens and godowns. Samples of both the cooked food and raw materials will be tested at regular intervals,” said an official from the Directorate of Education (DoE). “The idea is to ensure that children in schools receive only quality meals and that the prescribed nutritional value is not compromised. According to official data, there are 8.24 lakh beneficiaries in more than 1,200 state schools in the national capital.
However, the Program Approval Board (PAB), which annually adopts the work plan and budget for the midday meal schedule, noted in its recent meeting that more than 4.8 lakh children were excluded from the midday meal schedule during the 2021-22 academic session in Delhi due to shortage of food grains. The Delhi government, in conjunction with the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR), had also launched a social audit of the distribution of dry rations as part of a midday meal in April.
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