Karnataka has topped the first ever ranking of state governments on the basis of their performance and implementation of the midday meal scheme with a total score of 77.79 per cent, followed by Punjab (76.81 per cent), Daman & Diu (71.40 per cent) and Himachal Pradesh (71.31 per cent). Bihar, where a number of children died after a midday meal earlier this year, came fifth with 70.36 per cent.
Among the states which have fared poorly are Delhi (44.73 per cent), Orissa (47.89 per cent), Goa (47.56 per cent), Sikkim (49.96 per cent), Meghalaya (48.59 per cent), Assam (47.57 per cent), Jharkhand (45.46 per cent), which have all been termed as “laggards”.
“The rankings, done for the first time by the ministry, give a fair idea about the areas that a state needs to improve upon. We are sharing these rankings with all states and will refine the next rankings,” said Amarjit Singh, Additional Secretary, HRD ministry.
The states have been given scores on the basis of 15 indicators including average coverage of children, foodgrain utilisation against allocation, payment to Food Corporation of India, utilisation of funds, honorarium to cook-cum-helpers, monitoring and supervision, infrastructure & health.
While the top five states have been ranked as “leaders”, the next rung of states have been ranked as “followers”, including Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Dadra & Nagra Haveli, Puducherry and Arunachal Pradesh. The remaining states form the “laggards”.
The analysis of these rankings notes that the number of students covered under the scheme fell by 7 million from the preceding quarter. Moreover, while 85 per cent of allocated foodgrain is lifted at the national level, the utilisation of transportation assistance is only 54 per cent for the corresponding period.
Only 65 per cent of the sanctioned kitchen sheds have actually been constructed so far, Less than 60 per cent of the sanctioned kitchens-cum- stores have been constructed in Andhra Pradesh (9 per cent), Kerala (13 per cent), Maharashtra (42 per cent), Tamil Ndau (19 per cent).
While 75 per cent of the schools were inspected in Chandigarh, Punjab and Bihar in the first quarter of 2013-14, less than 50 per cent schools were inspected in Tripura, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, Haryana, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, Mizoram and Meghalaya.