PAISA District Surveys: Mid-Day Meal Scheme (2012)

A case study on the fund and grain flows in the Mid-Day Meal Scheme.

This study employs a combination of primary survey work and secondary analysis of government documents,  to track releases and expenditures of foodgrains  and fund flows from Government of India (GOI) all the way down  to  the schools for the financial year 2011-12. The study is based on data collected from  two  districts each in Uttar Pradesh (Hardoi and Jaunpur) and Bihar (Nalanda and Purnea).

The focus of this tracking effort is on three main MDM grants: foodgrains, cooking costs and honorarium paid to the cook-cum-helper (CCH). The data collected through this tracking exercise suggests that  all is not well with MDM implementation. Through our efforts to track the flow of foodgrains, cooking costs and CCH funds we find that there are significant bottlenecks in the release of  foodgrains and cooking costs at the district level.

Through a series of qualitative interviews with stakeholders in one district in each state, the  PAISA study attempted to understand the nature of these bottlenecks in foodgrains  and financial flows and the reasons behind these bottlenecks. These interviews suggest that poor record keeping, limited human resources, lack of information flows  and coordination  across all levels of government, and weak monitoring and grievance redress  systems were the primary reasons for these delays in transfers. Resolving these problems requires a combination of improvements in financial  book-keeping  and accounting  systems, strengthening  real time monitoring and building human resource capacity at the district and block level.

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