Theda Skocpol, Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard, notes that spending on education and family health care is especially likely to generate social and economic returns. Midday Meal (MDM) program is a school meal programme of the government of India designed to improve the nutritional status of school-age children nationwide. India's MDM program feeds 120 million children and employs 2 million women. It's an initiative that changes lives and provides human-capital investment in millions of children.
The poorest of the poor are defined as those who can eat only when they get work and who lack shelter, proper clothing, social respect, and means to send their children to school. They have no land, live on daily wages, and need to send school-age children to work in times of crisis. They send children to government schools as this is the only way to ensure one time meal to their wards and the best chance for children to break the cycle of poverty. MDM scheme has many potential benefits: attracting children from disadvantaged sections (especially girls, Dalits and Adivasis) to school, improving regularity, nutritional benefits, socialisation benefits and income support to women .
An impact study has shown that the food stamps alternative or the direct income support is not feasible, for it may lead to adverse consumption choices by the targeted households. This would happen, particularly in countries like India, where educational and awareness levels of the targeted households are low.
Learn more in this animation designed by Rhitu Chatterjee and Mathilde Dratwa.