At a time when news of children falling ill after consuming mid-day meals pops up with an alarming regularity it is shocking to know that Haryana government has "failed" to rope in any laboratory for checking the quality of food being provided to students under midday meals scheme. This revelation was a part of the latest CAG report.
In its report for the year 2014-15, the government auditor said the Centre had issued guidelines in July 2013 to all states to consider engaging laboratories recognised by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research institutes and National Accreditation Board for Laboratories for carrying out sample checking of midday meal to ensure quality food to the children. But during the audit, it was observed that the state government has not taken any steps to engage the laboratories, the report said.
"As such, this important aspect of food quality was not considered for implementation by the government," CAG noted. The Director of Elementary Education Department said in October 2015 that instructions to all DEEOs were issued in September 2013 and July 2015 for checking of the food. However, the audit also reported that implementation of instructions was not ensured by DEEOs.
On a separate note, the report also stated that the coverage of students under the national programme of midday meal scheme in schools had decreased from 99% to 95% during 2010-15.
Translated in real terms, the number of children covered fell from 22.14 lakh in 2010-11 to 19.60 lakh in 2014-15, as per the report. The DEEO Sirsa had, interestingly, shown 100% coverage of schools in the district during 2010-15.
But CAG observed that Government Girls Primary School (GGPS), Chattargarhpatti (Sirsa) was not covered under the scheme for 16 months (August 2009 to January 2011). Thus, DEEO, Sirsa "misreported" the facts, CAG noted.
According to the last known information, an inquiry would be conducted for non-coverage of this school.
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