Mid-day meal: Central team to conduct test of height-weight ratio of Bengal students

Kolkata, Jan 29 (IANS): The central inspection team from the Union education ministry to West Bengal to review the implementation of the mid-day meal scheme might conduct random height-weight ratios of the students covered under the scheme.

According to sources aware of the tentative schedule of the central inspection team to conduct the review from January 30 to February 6 in different districts, there are several methods to evaluate whether the mid-day meal beneficiaries are receiving adequate nutritious food or not and examining the height-weight ratio is one of the most effective ways to do that.

From the constitution of the nine-member team, which will arrive in Kolkata on Sunday afternoon only, more than bureaucratic representation the focus has been given on inducting specialists in the field of nutrition. This has been done to make the field inspection process more fruitful.

The central inspection team will be led by Dr Anuradha Dutta, the head of the department for foods & nutrition department of Govind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture & Technology, which is based out of Pantnagar in Uttarakhand. Three members of the nine- member fact-finding team are chief consultants with the Union ministry of education. A representative from the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) will also be a member of the team.

Sources from the state secretariat said that as per preliminary information communicated to them by the Union education ministry, the central inspection team will also conduct on-spot examination of the cooked mid-day meal to check the nutrition value there. They will also check whether proper management information system chain is followed in the entire process.

While these will be the part of the inspection aspect from the nutrition side, the Central team will also evaluate the financial and management aspect in implementation of the scheme. This second aspect will involve the inspection of the infrastructure facilities like the condition of the kitchens, involvement of the teachers in monitoring the cooking system, payment mechanism to the cook hired for the purposes and status of Aadhaar- linking of those outsourced in the system.

The central inspection team is visiting the state amid complaints of irregularities regarding the implementation of the mid-day meal scheme. The leader of the opposition in West Bengal Assembly Suvendu Adhikari has even complained of diversion of the mid-day meal funds for paying compensation to the victims of Bogtui carnage in March last year.



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Title: Mid-day meal: Central team to conduct test of height-weight ratio of Bengal students

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