The schools in South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) has failed to live up to calorie and protein standards set by the government for the lunch served to primary school students, according to an independent report.
The tests on food samples by Federation Of India Chamber Of Commerce & Industry's (FICCI) Research and Analysis Center January to March this year have found that the meals did not meet standards. Farhad Suri said that the children were not only getting "inferior quality and less quantity" of food, but the organizations providing the meals were being overpaid at a meeting of the Standing Committee.
A midday meal for primary students is supposed to have 450 Kcal and 12 gm of protein, as per the Union Government guidelines. In January, the meals of rice and dal tested had 134.82 Kcal and 7.11 gm of protein. Meals of halwa and chana had 206.11 Kcal and 7.19 gm of protein in February. In March, the test found meals of rajma and rice had only 136.47 Kcal and 7.35 gm of protein.
"The Corporation is playing with the future of children. They are not getting adequate nutrition on one hand and the vendors are getting away without any penalties on the other," said Mr. Suri.
About Rs.15 crore was spent on funding the midday meal scheme for the SDMC's 589 schools, he added. "There is corruption involved as the private organizations are being overpaid for the quantity of food they give," said Mr. Suri.
"Till 2011, the cooked meals were tested and they were above all nutritional requirements. But, then the Delhi Government ordered us to start testing the raw materials, which is why the samples failed," said Radhey Shyam Sharma, chairperson of SDMC Standing Committee.
SDMC would take up the quality of raw grains with the State government, he said. "We will ask the government to test the raw food before giving it to us as it appears it is of inferior quality," said Mr. Sharma.