Social audit of nutrition programme in Maharashtra schools to be conducted

Mumbai: The social audit of the nutrition programme in schools of Maharashtra will be conducted, announced Varsha Gaikwad, state school education minister on Monday. This decision has been taken to improve the quality of mid-day meals provided to students and increase the participation of the community in the programme.

The Central Govt-sponsored school nutrition programme is being implemented in the state and is benefiting about 105 lakh students studying in Classes 1 to 8 in 86,499 schools. The central government had instructed in 2014 to start social audit of the school nutrition programme but no action was taken.

Now, following complaints of substandard quality of goods supplied by the suppliers, the state school education minister has taken a decision to conduct a social audit of the programme. Gaikwad said, "Social audit of at least five per cent of schools out of the total schools eligible for the nutrition programme in each district and Zilla Parishad (ZP) of Maharashtra will be conducted."

Gaikwad said, "The audit will cover the state of school kitchens, available space, technical and administrative documents, procurement methods of rice and other goods, grain stock registers, training of cooks, helpers and nutritional status."

The minister has given instructions to the Director of Education to start the social audit in order to increase participation of the community in the programme and analyse its benefits for students in a proper manner. The audit will also help bring transparency and ensure accountability of the society.

Gaikwad said, "This will benefit students participating in the programme to get nutritious food. We aim to reduce complaints of substandard quality of goods supplied by the suppliers."

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