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The Public-private Partnership (PPP) model is usually associated with the infrastructure sector, where investments are huge and therefore, the Government gets into a partnership with private sector companies to make projects economically viable. Of late, however, it has become popular in other sectors as well.
In the education sector, for instance, the Government has got into a tie-up with Non Governmental Organisations to implement the Mid-day Meal Scheme (MDMS), the Government of India's ambitious school lunch programme, as a part of which a nutritious meal is provided to over 100 million school children every day.
How Non Governmental Organisations Come Into the Picture
Now the implementation of MDMS has been nothing short of a Herculean task for State Governments, and that shouldn't really come as a surprise, considering that it is the largest school lunch programme in the world. Therefore, in order to make it viable, several State Governments have forged a partnership with not-for-profit organisations with sound financial and logistical credentials.
Many State Governments of India has got into a partnership with a not-for-profit organisation to provide mid-day meals to school children. They are many well-known not-for-profit organisations in India that are assisting the states to implement the ambitious programme.
How the Government-Non Governmental Organisation Partnership is Enhancing the Mid-day Meal Scheme
The Government - Non Governmental Organisation partnership system has helped several states to iron out the wrinkles in MDMS. Earlier, the teachers were entrusted the task of preparing mid-day meals, as a result of which they were not able to focus on their primary role, i.e., teaching. With nonprofit organisations taking care of the cooking part now, the teachers don't have to worry about it. Similarly, as cooking is now carried out in centralized kitchens away from the school premises, it has ruled out the chances of mishaps, thus making the premises safer for children.
There are several areas where it has helped in making a positive impact, no doubt, but the most important benefit of Non Governmental Organisations joining the Government is the fact that it has helped the latter to reach out to more children.
That is not to say the Government is a passive spectator. It does its bit by providing land for the construction of kitchens, providing food grains, and even helps Non Governmental Organisations to raise funds by putting forth provisions like 100% tax deduction. (In addition, in several areas, it helps schools run their own mid-day meal kitchens.)
The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Policy framed under the New Companies Act, 2013, has also come as a blessing in disguise for this programme. This policy makes it mandatory for 'qualifying companies' to spend at least 2% of their average net profit for 3 preceding financial years on CSR initiatives to facilitate socioeconomic development.
This has made it easier for Non Governmental Organisations to raise funds for both, sustainability and expansion.
It also means more attention can be paid to the quality of food by using funds to procure latest technology. State-of-the-art food laboratories are now being used to monitor the quality of food and ensure basic standards of food safety.
The involvement of Non Governmental Organisations in the implementation of this programme has not just helped in improving the quality of meals served, but has also provided an opportunity to encourage community participation; the latter by means of fund raising, volunteering, etc.
Now that it has been quite some time since the Government and Non Governmental Organisations have got into a public-private partnership, the benefits of this tie-up have already started to surface. The quality of meals has enhanced, the number of beneficiaries has increased, and most important of all, the battle against hunger and malnutrition has found a new lease of life.
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Last Date 2 /7 /2021