Midday Meal Scheme is a school meal program by the Government of India. Midday meals feed over 120 million children in over a million schools. It initially covered class 1-5 and now has been extended to class 8. Its objective is to increase the enrollment, attendance and nutritional status in school children.
The British introduced midday meals first in 1925 in Madras. T.K. Kamaraj, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu reintroduced it post-independence in 1963. By 1998, the scheme had been implemented all across the country. But many states preferred giving free rations instead of cooked food. The right to Food Act 2001, mandates all government-run and aided schools to provide cooked food. Malnutrition in children under 5 has been reduced to 30%. It was 42% in 2006. It has brought poor children to schools giving them education, food and a hope of better tomorrow.