Mid Day Meal Scheme

The Midday Meal Scheme is a school meal programme in India designed to better the nutritional standing of school-age children nationwide. The programme supplies free lunches on working days for children in primary and upper primary classes in government, government aided, local body, Education Guarantee Scheme, and alternate innovative education centres, Madarsa and Maqtabs supported under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, and National Child Labour Project schools run by the ministry of labour. Serving 120,000,000 children in over 1,265,000 schools and Education Guarantee Scheme centres, it is the largest of its kind in the world.


About the Mid Day Meal Scheme

Mid Day Meal in schools has had a long history in India. In 1925, a Mid Day Meal Programme was introduced for disadvantaged children in Madras Municipal Corporation. By the mid 1980s three States viz. Gujarat, Kerala and Tamil Nadu and the UT of Pondicherry had universalized a cooked Mid Day Meal Programme with their own resources for children studying at the primary stage by 1990-91 the number of States implementing the mid day meal programme with their own resources on a universal or a large scale had increased to twelve states.



  • avoid classroom hunger
  • increase school enrolmentincrease
  • school attendance
  • improve socialisation among castes
  • address malnutrition
  • empower women through employment


With a view to enhancing enrollment, retention and attendance and simultaneously improving nutritional levels among children, the National Programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education (NP-NSPE) was launched as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme on 15th August 1995, initially in 2408 blocks in the country. By the year 1997-98 the NP-NSPE was introduced in all blocks of the country. It was further extended in 2002 to cover not only children in classes I -V of Government, Government aided and local body schools, but also children studying in EGS and AIE centres. Central Assistance under the scheme consisted of free supply of food grains @ 100 grams per child per school day, and subsidy for transportation of food grains up to a maximum of Rs 50 per quintal.

In September 2004 the scheme was revised to provide cooked mid day meal with 300 calories and 8-12 grams of protein to all children studying in classes I – V in Government and aided schools and EGS/ AIE centres. In addition to free supply of food grains, the revised scheme provided Central Assistance for (a) Cooking cost @ Re 1 per child per school day, (b) Transport subsidy was raised from the earlier maximum of Rs 50 per quintal to Rs. 100 per quintal for special category states, and Rs 75 per quintal for other states, (c) Management, monitoring and evaluation costs @ 2% of the cost of foodgrains, transport subsidy and cooking assistance, (d) Provision of mid day meal during summer vacation in drought affected areas.

In July 2006 the scheme was further revised to provide assistance for cooking cost at the rate of (a) Rs 1.80 per child/school day for States in the North Eastern Region, provided the NER States contribute Rs 0.20 per child/school day, and (b) Rs 1.50 per child/ school day for other States and UTs, provided that these States and UTs contribute Rs 0.50 per child/school day.

In October 2007, the scheme has been further revised to cover children in upper primary (classes VI to VIII) initially in 3479 Educationally Backwards Blocks (EBBs). Around 1.7 crore upper primary children were included by this expansion of the scheme. From 2008-09 i.e w.e.f 1st April, 2008, the programme covers all children studying in Government, Local Body and Government-aided primary and upper primary schools and the EGS/AIE centres including Madarsa and Maqtabs supported under SSA of all areas across the country. The calorific value of a mid-day meal at upper primary stage has been fixed at a minimum of 700 calories and 20 grams of protein by providing 150 grams of food grains (rice/wheat) per child/school day.


History of mid day meal scheme

Actually, the mid-day meal has had a long history. The mid-day meal programme was first introduced in 1925 for the disadvantaged children in Madras Corporation.

Till the mid-1980’s many other states like Gujarat, Kerala and Tamil Nadu and Union Territory (UT) like Ponducerry had started a mid-day meal programme among the primary stages students.

And by 1990 – 1991 many other states started implementing mid day meal programme among their students and the number of stated increased to twelve after it.


◦ Who started mid-day meal scheme?

Of course, in general words, the mid-day meal scheme was started by the Indian Government to help the students trough many purposes. They help poor students to get their lunch. Even in beginning the mid-day meal scheme only focuses on special categories students but present day more than 120,000,000 get benefits from the scheme.


Benefits of Mid-day meal scheme

Of course, the mid-day meal has many different benefits from different sides, that’s the reason why the government highly implement this mid-day mead scheme among the states.

◦ The mid-day meal is benefited to avoid classroom hunger.

◦ The mid-day meal is benefited to increase the school enrolment.

◦ The mid-day meal is benefited to increase the attendance of the students.

◦ The mid-day meal is benefited to improve the socialization process among the different castes students.

◦ The mid-day meal is benefited to increase malnutrition.

◦ The mid-day meal is benefited to empower women in different ways.


Mid-day meal in schools

Of course, anyone can know that the mid-day meal scheme is actually designated for the schools. Through this scheme children of lower, primary and upper primary schools have their lunch for free in schools. Mid-day meal scheme covers all govt aided schools along with Madrasa and Muqtab. The government can manage and produced lunch for all the working days and the recipes are different every day.


◦ Mid-day meal salary

For more than 10 years, the salaries of mid-day meal workers are very low as they have been paid only just Rs. 1000 a month; of which Rs. 600 provides by the centre and the states the rest. Even along with Rs. 1000 a month 19 states and Union Territories have given some additional sums but in the states, such as Uttar Pradesh, Assam, and Maharashtra, those workers received only just Rs. 1000 a month.


Features of the Mid-day meal scheme

  • Mid day meals in all primary government schools are compulsoryChildren of 6 to 14 years, i.e. class 1 to 8th who enrol and attend the school are eligible
  • A hot cooked meal with the appropriate nutritional standard is served to children free of charge
  • Food with a minimum content of 300 calories of energy and 8 to 12 gram of protein per day is served for a minimum of 200 days in a year.
  • All government and govt. aided schools are covered under the scheme, madarsa are also covered (supported under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan)
  • It is the world’s most extensive school nutrition program.
  • Meals are served across 12.65 lakhs school, and 12 crore students are benefited from it.


objective of MDMS

The main objectives of the MDM scheme are:

  1. To increase the enrolment of the children belonging to disadvantaged sections in the schools.
  2. Leading enrolment to increased attendance in the schools.
  3. To retain children studying in classes 1-8.
  4. To provide nutritional support to the children of the elementary stage in drought-affected areas.


Meals Provided Under The Mid-Day Meal Scheme


The quantity of food items provided under this scheme per child per school day is as follows:

Food items

Primary level (Class I-V)

Upper level (Class VI-VIII)

Food Grains

100 gms

150 gms


20 gms

30 gms

Vegetables (leafy also)

50 gms

75 gms

Oil & fat

5 gms

7.5 gms

Salt & condiments

As per need

As per need


The calories intake prescribed per child per school day is as follows:


Calories Intake


Upper Primary


450 calories

700 calories


12 grams

20 grams