Centre to impart training to Mid-day meal cooks

New Delhi: The Ministries of Human Resources Development (MHRD) and Tourism are working together on providing training to master cooks engaged under Mid Day Meal Scheme (MDMS).

Shashi Tharoor, Minister of State, Human Resources Development, said in the Rajya Sabha on Monday on the request of the MHRD, the Ministry of Tourism has agreed to provide training to selected cook-cum-helpers as master trainers through Hotel Management Institutes and the Food Craft Institutes (FCIs).

A ten day full time course will be organized that will cover knowledge dissemination regarding the caloric and nutritive values of the Mid-Day Meal, the methods of cooking for retaining the nutritive value of cooking ingredients, awareness regarding the issues of malnutrition and also the benchmarking of nutrition levels, the importance of regular washing of hands, general health and hygienic practices and concerns and communication skills.

The process of training has started and a group of 30 cooks will be given training in each institute.

The state governments and UT administrations have been requested to nominate 30 cook cum helpers from their state for each institute.

Also, the government informed the Rajya Sabha that the Central Government has asked the National Accreditation Board for Laboratories (NABL) recognised labs to collect the samples from the field for testing on parameters such as microbiological-presence or absence of e-coil, chemical parameters such as moisture content, fats, proteins and calorific value of the meal.

These reports have been useful for enhancing the effectiveness of the scheme. The State/UTs have also been requested to consider engaging FSSAI/CSIR institutes/NABL recognized labs for carrying out sample checking of Mid Day Meal, to ensure quality meal to the children.

Giving details, the HRD Minister, M M Pallam Raju said that there is a detailed mechanism for supervision of the Mid Day Meal scheme through periodical reports and monitoring at the local level through the school management committees (SMCs) as well as the state government officials.

In addition, the central government ensures independent monitoring through 41 monitoring institutes such as IIT Chennai, Viswa Bharti and XLRI.

The Joint Review Missions (JRMs) visit the states at regular intervals. In the current year 7 JRMs have been conducted and 13 more are planned.

In addition, surprise visits are made from time to time; three such visits have been carried out in the current year in Maharashtra, J&K and Assam.

The implementation of the scheme is monitored during the the Programme Approval Board (PAB) meetings and by the district, state and national level Steering-cum-monitoring Committee. The district level Vigilance and Monitoring Committee meeting under the chairmanship of Member of Parliament from the district has also been activated.