Following the Mid-Day Meal Money Trail (Part I)

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The mid-day meal programme was launched by the Government of India in 1995, feeding children of standard I-V across Government and Government aided schools in 2408 blocks in the country. Three years after this, the programme was extended to cover all the blocks in the country as well as target children studying in EGS and AIE centres. Today, India’s mid-day meal scheme is the world’s largest school feeding programme, catering to over 114 million children.

The mid-day meal programme has only been able to grow at this rapid pace due to the increased importance and budget allocations the Government of India has provided it with. Realising the need and potential of this programme, the Government has, over the years, devoted an increasing amount of the yearly budget toward expanding this undertaking.

The increased funding in the Union Budgetary Allocation toward the mid-day meal programme from the year 2007-08 to 2013-14, is a testimony to how crucial this agenda is to the long term vision of India.


The latest budget allocation by the Government of India toward the mid-day meal in Financial Year 2013-14 is Rs 13,215 crores, which is 32 per cent of the total elementary education budget for this year. According to the mid-day meal scheme norms, the Government of India contributes 75 per cent of the total costs while the states contribute 25 per cent. In the North-Eastern states of India, this division of costs becomes 90 percent by the Government, and 10 per cent by the states.

The total mid-day meal budget is divided according to different categories like cooking costs, honorarium to cooks-cum-helpers (CCH), food grains and the remaining to transportation and monitoring, management and evaluation (MME).

An evaluation of the mid-day meal budget segmentation for the year 2011-12 shows that 53 per cent of the total budget went toward cooking costs, 20 per cent as honorarium to cooks-cum-helpers (CCH), 14 per cent to food grains and the remaining was spent on MME.

In the next section we will discuss in detail the budgetary allocations across these categories of the mid-day meal scheme.

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