Anurag Patel, the District Magistrate (DM) of Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh, has blamed Pawan Jaiswal, the journalist who covered ‘Midday Meal Apathy’ in the municipal school of Hinuata village. He questioned Jaiswal 's intentions of making a viral video. This comes after the Block Development Officer (BDO) of the area registered a case against the journalist for shooting a video of the children eating roti and salt. The district authorities suspended a teacher after the incident took place.
DM Anurag Patel said, “The process of covering news is different. This man (Pawan Jaiswal) called someone to be a part of the video so that he can make a video viral.” When it was pointed out that no 'viral' word was used in the video, Patel further said, “But these guys anyway made a video, right? If you’re a print journalist, you could’ve clicked a picture and written about the situation. What’s the point of making a video?” When asked about the items provided in the midday meal, Patel said, “Khichdi was given to the kids, and it has salt, rice, and dal all the three ingredients. Also, this meal was given only on that particular day. The children are provided with a proper meal on all the other days.”
Over 100 children were filmed eating roti with salt in Siyur Primary School in Hinuata village. This video showed how the teachers in the school were distributing salt and rotis to the children. As per the flagship program by the government, the school should provide a nutritious meal to the children in primary schools. The midday meal menu should include pulses, rice, rotis and vegetables as part of mid-day meals. In fact, fruits and milk are also required to be served on some days.
The Mid Day Meal Scheme (MDMS) was first introduced by the Central Government in 2001 and it has been functioning under the Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD) for almost two decades since then. Even after the widespread penetration of the scheme all over India, some regions seem to have failed in implementing the program. The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh has time and again reiterated that these facilities are regularly provided to the children in the state. In an earlier statement, activist Saira Shah Halim said, "The government schemes are clearly not working in the state. The supplementary nutrition like vegetables and pulses like dal were absent from these children’s meal. This kind meal violates the scheme as it is only filling up children’s stomach without providing additional nutrition to them.”