Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: The Mid-Day Meal (MDM) Scheme in Odisha looks floundering. A big decline in the number of institutions and enrolled students in the State for the MDM scheme has been observed over the years.


During the lockdown period of March-August 2020, providing hot cooked meals to students under the Mid-Day Meal Scheme was not possible. Therefore, as per the Centre's directions Odisha had delivered Food security Allowance to nearly 45.08 lakh children.

But the big shocker to the fore is when it comes to providing hot cooked meals, the number of beneficiaries saw a drastic reduction to just over 39.72 lakh children in 2019-20.

As per the accessed data available with the State Project Management Unit (MDM), in the year 2019-20, only 39.72 lakh or 88 per cent of the total of 45.13 lakh enrolled children in the State had received cooked meals under the MDM scheme.

Another blooper to the fore is only 78 per cent of food-grains allocated had been utilised by the State in the year 2020. The State failed to lift the foodgrains allotted for the scheme by the Centre.


Sample how the number of institutes and enrolled students under the scheme has shrunk over the years.

The number of institutions implementing the MDM scheme in Odisha in 2017-18 was over 58,784 and the beneficiaries availed totalled 4.84 lakh.

Cut to the year 2019-20, the numbers gradually dwindled to around 55, 525 institutes and 4.51 lakhs students, respectively.

As per Right to Food activists, since all enrolled students didn't get MDM, only 88 per cent or 39.72 lakh had availed the nutritional programme in schools. The national average stood at around 94 per cent, said sources.


As per SPMU sources, the allotted MDM foodgrain utilisation in Odisha stood at poor 78 per cent. The outcome of it has been disastrous. Consider the following.

"Due to non-availability of rice in proper quantity for the scheme, many times we have to go for discontinuance of the programme in schools," said a teacher in Rayagada School.

As per Right to Food Activists, reports of such discontinuance of the MDM scheme in schools for a longer period has come from districts like Sonepur, Bolangir, Gajapati etc.

Even, the utilisation of cooking cost till December end 2020 stood at only 68 per cent. The impact on the ground level is nearly 60 per cent of schools in many districts, including Rayagada, had not received the cooking costs three months in advance.


Under the MDM scheme, the funds released to the State stood curtailed over the years.

Sample the following. In 2016-17, Odisha received Rs 454.51 crore. As the State could spend only Rs 422.6 crore, the allocation to the State for the year 2017-18 was curtailed to Rs 419.2 crore. The significant shocker here is Odisha government could utilise only Rs 396.9 crore in the year 2017-18.

For which, the allocation in 2018-19 was cut to around Rs 396 crore. The nagging point here is utilisation in Odisha in the year 2018-19 stood further lower at Rs 382.2 crore.