The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, in its report on the implementation of the National Programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education – also known as the Midday Meal (MDM) scheme – observed incorrect reporting by the commissioner of the MDM scheme to the Central government with respect to the coverage of schools and students.
“The number of schools reported as covered in the Annual Work Plan and Budget was more than the actual number of schools in the state as per Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) records. Further, it was observed that against the actual coverage of 6,755 schools in the test-checked districts, the commissioner had reported 7,105 schools as covered in the Annual Work Plan and Budget during 2015-’16. In the remaining two years (2016-’18), the coverage has been under-reported. This indicated that incorrect data of coverage of schools were being reported by the state government,” reported the CAG report for the year ending March 2018, tabled in the Gujarat Assembly on its last day of the monsoon session.
The report mentioned the reason attributed by the commissioner for variation in the data to incorrect information furnished by the district authorities. “The reply indicates that the commissioner failed to get the regular reconciliation done so as to ensure correct information is reported to the GoI,” it added.
The records of the scheme covering the period from 2015-’16 to 2017-’18 maintained by the commissioner of MDM in five districts – Amreli, Banaskantha, Vadodara, Panchmahal and Valsad – and eleven talukas of these districts were checked by the CAG. Additionally, 96 schools were visited by the local administration between June and August, 2018.
In 2017-’18, the coverage of the daily average number of students as reported by the Commissioner to the Government of India (GoI) was higher by six per cent (8,05,073 students), as against the coverage reported (7,58,278 students) in four out of five districts, excluding Valsad.
Further, the closing stock of foodgrains was being under-reported with ineffective checks to ensure the quality of food during 2015-’18. However, there was a huge closing stock in the godowns of the Gujarat State Civil Supply Corporation.
The daily average number of students covered under the Doodh Sanjivani scheme decreased during 2015-’18. “Of the five test-checked districts, the scheme was implemented in three districts – Banaskantha, Panchmahal and Valsad. In Banaskantha, it decreased from 12,5.961 students to 91,489 students and in Panchmahal, it decreased from 31,574 to 18,188… In five out of the eight schools visited in Sahera taluka of Panchmahal district, out of 270 milk pouches received on the day of visit, 142 (53 per cent) pouches were lying unused and the schools had no facility for storing the same,” the report observed.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines