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