DDSEs directed to surrender food grains to GoI

ITANAGAR, Jan 11: The DDSEs of all districts have been directed to surrender the Mid Day Meal (MDM) food grains to the Government of India from schools where the programme is not being implemented properly, as has been recommended by the 10th Joint Review Mission (JRM) of the MDM.
This decision was taken after the 10th JRM of the MDM programme reported 19 adverse observations, of which, two observations were of very serious nature, and included irregular serving of MDM and false reporting of the number of days that midday meals were served.
Following the reports of the 10th JRM, Education Minister Honchun Ngandam on Thursday held a review meeting on the implementation of the MDM scheme by the state’s Education department.
After prolonged discussion, the DDSEs, who are the implementing officers of the programme in the districts, were directed to find out and identify the schools where MDM is not being implemented properly or not being implemented at all.
Responsibility has been fixed on the DDSEs for irregular serving of meals and submission of false reports.
The cost of food grains and conversion cost will be recovered from the DDSEs concerned in the event of false reporting of MDM implementation.
To prevent false reporting, the DDSEs will submit the list of schools where MDM is not being regularly served or not served at all, to the Directorate of Elementary Education by 20 January.
The food grains against these schools shall have to be surrendered by the DDSEs immediately by submitting monthly reports.
Further, the deputy commissioners have been requested to monitor the implementation of MDM in the districts and ensure that the lapses are looked into seriously and corrective steps are taken immediately.
Meanwhile, the DDSEs also presented their problems in implementing the MDM scheme in the districts.
They pointed out that MDM funds are not released by the Education department on time. They claimed that the full fund for the last seven months has still not been released by the department to the districts on the ground that the file has not been cleared by the Finance department.
While rice is available from the Food Corporation of India, the conversion cost is not available from the government for purchase of cooking items like dal, oil, salt, green leafy vegetable, etc, the DDSEs added.
They also informed that the schools obtained these cooking items on loan from nearby shops for two or three months. However, these small shops stop supplying the items when their bills are not cleared by the schools for prolonged periods. This leads to irregular serving of MDM in the schools, they said.
Similarly, the cooks-cum-helpers are only paid Rs 1000 per month, as a result of which either they are not regular in their cooking duty or they leave their jobs frequently, leading to irregular serving of MDM, they said.
The DDSEs further stated that the transport cost of food grains is very meagre (Rs 260 per quintal), as a result of which the transporters are unwilling to carry food grains to the schools.
They said the transporters in most of the cases unload the food grains in the block headquarters, rather than at schools, leading to unavailability of food grain in the schools and irregular serving of meals.
The DDSEs were provided with the details of the observations of the 10th JRM who visited the state recently. They were also provided with the details of the recommendation of JRM for improving the implementation of the MDM.
They have been asked to review the implementation of MDM in the districts by taking corrective steps and streamlining the implementation immediately.
Education Secretary Bidol Tayeng, Elementary Education Director Tapi Gao, SSA SPD Opak Gao, and other officers of from directorate were also present at the meeting.