New Delhi, Aug 2 (PTI) Twenty-four complaints have been received regarding irregularities and poor-quality food severed under the Mid-Day Meal Scheme (MDMS) in the last two years, Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Monday.

Responding to a written question in Lok Sabha, the minister said departmental action, including warnings, transfers and suspension of officials and action against service providers, was taken in 14 complaints, while at least seven were either found baseless or could not be proved.

"A total of 24 complaints were received regarding irregularities and poor quality food severed under the Mid-Day Meal Scheme (MDMS) during the last two years. It is stated that the overall responsibility for providing cooked and nutritious mid-day meal to the eligible children lies with state governments and UT administrations," he said.

Pradhan noted that the complaints received were referred to the state governments and UT administrations concerned for necessary action.

"As per action-taken reports (ATRs) received from states and UTs, action such as issuing warning against the official responsible, terminating the contract of concerned NGOs or organisations, initiating criminal proceedings and imposing penalties against the defaulting persons, officials and organisations have been taken by the concerned authorities," he added.

Mid-Day Meal Scheme is a centrally sponsored scheme implemented in partnership with states and UTs.

The states and UTs fix their menu according to the local needs in order to meet the nutritional content as prescribed in the National Food Security Act, 2013.

During closure of schools due to COVID-19, the Ministry of Education had advised states to provide mid-day meal or food security allowance to students rather than cooked meals.

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