Over 100 students who are studying in classes 1 to 8 in eastern Uttar Pradesh's Mirzapur district government school were filmed eating rotis and salt as their mid-day meal. This mid-day meal programme is run under the flagship central government scheme to provide lunch and proper nutrition to several children from poor families who study in government schools across India.
In a viral video from the Mirzapur school, young students can be seen sitting on the floor of the school corridor, eating rotis with just some salt in their plates.
The website of the Uttar Pradesh mid-day meal authority, the overseeing body for these meals in the state, mentions an elaborate menu that is supposed to be served to children at government schools, which includes pulses, rice, rotis and vegetables. Fruits and milk are also included on certain days, as per the meal chart.
"Things are bad here. Sometimes, they feed the children salt and rotis. Sometimes salt and rice. When milk comes here on rare occasions, most of it is never distributed. Bananas are never distributed. It has been like this for over a year now," a parent said to a local journalist in an interview at the school.
According to a report in NDTV, Anurag Patel, the top government officer in Mirzapur said, "I got an inquiry conducted and the incident has been found to be true. Prima facie, it is the fault of the teacher in charge of the school and the supervisor at the Gram Panchayat. Both have been suspended.”
According to the government data, till December 1, 2018, the Yogi Adityanath government is providing mid-day meals in over 1.5 lakh primary and middle schools across Uttar Pradesh. Over 1 crore children are supposed to benefit from the scheme.
As per central government, the mid-day meal scheme is designed to provide a minimum of 450 calories per child per day, which should include at least 12 grams of protein too each day. These meals should be served to each child at least 200 days a year.