Court issues notice to centre on mid-day meals in schools

Notice to centre on mid-day meals
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Wednesday issued notice to the central government on the issue that nutritional value of mid-day meal given to school children was far below the stipulated norms.


A division bench of Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and Justice Pradeep Nandrajog sought a response from the human resource development ministry by Nov 6.

The court's direction came after advocate Ashok Agarwal said the state government wrote to the central government that the menu of mid-day meal was not meeting the nutritional norms. He also urged the court to make the central government a party in the case.

Agarwal told the court that the Delhi government wrote a letter the central government June 10 that "the menu being provided under mid-day meal is not meeting the nutritional norms for primary as well as upper primary school children".

Earlier, the court, on its own motion, took note of media reports that the principal and two other teachers of a municipal school fell sick after tasting the mid-day meal. The education department of the Delhi government filed an affidavit that the central government had not yet issued any guidelines regarding the method of testing food samples for mid-day meals.

The affidavit said: "After changing the testing method from 'dry basis' to 'wet basis', which is a more stringent way of checking the quality, samples have not been meeting the prescribed norms of nutrition." The state government in December 2011 wrote to the central government asking what should be the prescribed method for testing the food sample.

It said that after the incidents of illness of children after eating mid-day meals, first information reports had been lodged against the NGOs which had been providing food in these schools.


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