India is a country of contrasts and contradictions. We witness an amalgamation of various diverse groups here. The diversity can be cultural, religious or even financial. While cultural diversity is hailed as a shining beacon of India’s prosperity and rich tradition, the financial disparity that exists in the country is one the prime issues that us. India is still a developing country that has undergone tremendous changes in the last decade or so. It’s now economically stable and a force to be reckoned with on the international platform. Despite all the economic development and prosperity the country is still struggling to bridge the gap between the extreme ends of the financial spectrum and the financial disparity that exists between them. According to statistics the country still has the highest number of people who live below the poverty line in the entire continent. For a family who has a hard time scraping together a meal, education is a long way down on their list of priorities.
A family that can’t provide a basic amenity like food to the child certainly won’t consider sending him/her to school. Moreover a child suffering from pangs of hunger can’t and won’t be an ideal student. Thus combating the problem of illiteracy at just the surface isn’t possible or even feasible as it’s just the tip of the iceberg. In answer to this the government. has come up with a gem of a scheme called “The mid-day meal scheme”. Through this scheme the government provides a high nutrition meal to the child who attends school. The scheme thus atleast on paper is the ideal solution.
The parents who can’t afford to feed their children now have an incentive to send them to school. Irrespective of their motivation the child still receives education and nutrition, thus solving not one but two of the key issues that the country suffers from. The scheme has been declared a success in general all over the world and has received numerous laurels. The scheme though, has come under scrutiny as despite its success the government. has barely scratched the surface of the problem as 42.5% of children of India are still undernourished. Another problem that the mid-day meal programme suffers from is that of accountability. The country has a murky underbelly entrenched in corruption and scams and this scheme isn’t completely untouched from its tendrils. The food meant for children is being sold in the black market while the children themselves receive inferior quality food. There have been sporadic deaths due to consumption of stale food in various regions of Bihar. The scheme also needs to have a wider reach as cooked meals are being provided in just 4 states. Though the scheme is a positive initiative taken by the government, for it to be a resounding success the government has to take some concrete measures.