IVRS MDM Bihar – A Beginner’s Guide to Mid Day Meal Monitoring

In this blog, we will explore the subject of IVRS MDM in Bihar. However, before we proceed, let’s understand some fundamental aspects of IVRS MDM in Bihar.

Introduction to MDM (Mid Day Meal)

The Mid Day Meal (MDM) scheme was introduced by the Indian government in 1995 to provide 3 kg of rice per month to each primary school child. The aim was to encourage children to attend school regularly and meet their nutritional needs. In Bihar, the scheme began as a pilot project in 2003-04 across 10 districts and was fully launched in 2005 for students in classes 1-5. Later, during 2007-08, it was extended to cover students up to class 8.

Under the MDM scheme, every child receives a hot cooked meal, with the primary objective of promoting primary education enrollment and supporting their nutrition.

Background

To ensure transparency in the scheme, the government sought to make data related to the mid-day meal easily accessible to everyone. For this purpose, a Management Information System (MIS) and an Automatic Monitoring System (AMS) were established. The AMS enables schools to report the number of children receiving the meal daily, using different channels like SMS, web portals, calls, IVRS (Interactive Voice Response System), and mobile apps, depending on the state.

In Bihar, IVRS has been widely used since 2012 to report daily data on the number of children consuming the mid-day meal.

What is IVRS MDM in Bihar?

IVRS MDM, or Interactive Voice Response System in the Mid Day Meal scheme, is utilized in Bihar for monitoring. A concerned person receives a call on their mobile phone and answers three predetermined questions using the phone’s keypad.

The steps of IVRS MDM in Bihar are as follows:

  • From Monday to Friday, between 10 am to 4 pm, the school principal receives a call on her mobile phone from a fixed landline number.
  • The automated caller asks three key questions, and the receiver responds using the mobile phone keypad.
  • The first question is about school attendance.
  • The second question is about the number of children accessing the mid-day meal.
  • The third question is about whether the meal was prepared as per the menu or not.
  • On Friday, two additional questions are asked concerning stock and the fund needed for the next week.
  • In the absence of the principal, the call is made to the senior teacher of the school.
  • Please note, these questions may change every 3 months.

What is Dopahar IVRS MDM?

“Dopahar” is simply a name given to this IVRS solution; it is an initiative by the Bihar government and is referred to as “Dopahar IVRS”.

SWOT Analysis of IVRS MDM

Strengths

  • IVRS MDM enables real time monitoring.
  • IVRS MDL is low cost solution where the cost of each call is around 0.43 paisa.
  • Removes cumbersome paper work.
  • The IVRS system fosters greater accountability among school staffs.
  • It enables a remote school to publish their data for public.
  • It stopped the physical visit to school for monitoring purpose which also used to interrupt the school services.

Weaknesses

  • This system does not confirm the the correctness of data provided by staff, however as per government there is an audit team to ensure the data accuracy by physically visiting the schools.
  • This system does not check for the quality of meal given to children, which is a key problem of MDM in Bihar.
  • A familiarity issue with the IVRS may lead to feeding some incorrect data to the system.
  • No involvement of citizens for feedback purpose.

Opportunities

  • The IVRS system can be used for other purposes as well example, attendance of teachers. Whether the syllabus is followed by teachers or not.
  • The IVRS based information can be used for financial purpose to track the funds in real time.

Threats

  • Technology challenges, any day a small server issue or technical glitch can spoil the data.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the implementation of IVRS MDM in Bihar has significant advantages in the field of monitoring of the Mid Day Meal scheme. The real-time data collection has enhanced efficiency, transparency, and accountability in the meal program. This timely information enables authorities to make informed decisions, identify trends, and address any issues promptly.

However, it is crucial to acknowledge that there are areas for improvement. One of the notable drawbacks is the absence of a feedback system. Incorporating a feedback mechanism would enable beneficiaries and local communities to provide valuable insights on the program’s effectiveness and identify any potential gaps and data inaccuracy.

By embracing a feedback-driven, inclusive approach, the program can evolve into a model of excellence, fostering healthier and prosperous Bihar.

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