Right to Food Campaign

Mid-day Meals: Introduction

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On 28 November 2001, the Supreme Court directed state governments to introduce cooked mid-day meals in all government and government-assisted primary schools within six months (see legal action section for further details). This landmark order was one of the first achievements of the right to food campaign. The order was followed by organised public pressure for the introduction of cooked mid-day meals in primary schools, e.g. in the form of a country-wide "day of action on mid-day meals" in April 2002.

In response to this pressure, and to the court orders, all state governments have initiated mid-day meal programmes. Today, with more than 100 million children covered, India���s mid-day meal programme is by far the largest nutrition programme in the world.

The quality of mid-day meals, however, varies a great deal between different states. Some states, notably in southern India, have reasonably good mid-day meal programmes. Others initially introduced ramshackle mid-day meals on a shoestring budget, mainly to appease the Supreme Court. The campaign focuses not only on the implementation of Supreme Court orders but also on quality issues.