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Government had started the ‘mid-day’ program for such students who can not study further, who come from poor families and who can not bring food. In 2001, the Supreme Court had ordered all the states to provide food to the children in all government schools.

According to the BBC report, there are approximately 71 thousand government primary and middle schools in Bihar. About 1 crore 20 lakh children are studying in these schools. They are all served mid-day meals. There are two lakh 48 thousand cooks for making mid-day meals. Most of them are women who work 7-8 hours daily.

Every woman gets 1250 rupees per month to make food for about 300 children. Most of these women come from scheduled caste, socially and economically backward classes. Most of these women do not want to do farming due to atrocities done by Zamindars.  

Under the Mid-Day Meal Scheme, the ‘volunteers’ who make the food are not ‘workers’. They do not get salaries. Rather, the honorarium is given to them. They do not even offer any facilities like pension and medical. The school is closed for two months in the summer vacations. This gives them ten months to work. According to this calculation of the whole year, the income of these women is Rs 37 per day. Yes, only Rs 37 per day.

In March 2017, citing a 2011 decision by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Joint Secretary of the Union Human Resource Development Ajay Tikare wrote a letter to Bihar Education Secretary RK Mahajan.

He said that this is a part-time job because the requirement is to cook only one time of the day. Therefore, the cook can not be paid equal to the minimum wage given to a worker. On the other hand, the reality is that cook has to work for 7-8 hours.

Responding to the matter, CPI-ML leader Raju Yadav tweeted, “In Rs 37, a person can not even eat tea and snacks properly! But for the 1.2 crore children of 71 thousand government schools in Bihar, the cook making mid-day meal gets only Rs 37 per day. That’s just 10 months of the year. Modi-Nitish Shame!”