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________________________________________________________________________Process Documentation Report                      ...
Contents                             Page NoI. Executive Summary                   3                                      ...
I. Executive SummaryThe Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) is a technology whicheffectively uses the interface betwe...
accountability and transparency, primarily because data is availablealmost immediately. Upon stabilisation of this system,...
the Government of India (held in February 2010) with representativesfrom the Govt. of India, UNICEF and MDM,UP1, stated th...
A hungry child is less likely to attend school regularly. Hunger drains them of their willand ability to learn…chronic hun...
menu    prepared    in    accordance    with     this   requirement   is   as   follows:       Day of      the Menu       ...
The funds allocated by the State Govt. for conversion cost are transferred to gramnidhi-V accounts of about 52,000 gram pa...
the Panchayat Sachivs and Gram Pradhans, but this was not being done inpractice. Further, there were several problems with...
mentioned in the previous section, not much was done for taking up thisproposal until the recommendations from the Joint R...
timing and make reservations, its use in monitoring a scheme on such alarge scale was a new and unique concept. .III. What...
12This mechanism is illustrated through the diagram below:                                          OBD        OB         ...
At Level One, an outbound call is made from the centre‟s server to theschool, which is transmitted through the mobile netw...
How Does the IVRS Work? The IVRS system entails placing an automatedcall to the headmaster of each school. The calls are m...
schools within a two-hour time frame, 60 PRI (Primary Rate Interface)3lines were hired, which was the only way through whi...
meals were cooked; and that too by the end of the same working    day.    The IVRS has brought in the system of daily repo...
eliminates tasks of reimbursing and auditing such telephone      expenses.      For the BSA/ABSA, monitoring the Mid-day m...
partners    and   stakeholders    have    become    more     „focused   andstraightforward‟, since it is now on the basis ...
Pradhans to ensure that the meal is cooked. They are aware that dailyreports reach all the authorities, right from the BSA...
However, the system is yet not able to provide data from 100 per centschools. The reasons need to be ascertained. In the s...
of MDMA, says the challenge is in using this information for properplanning.    Some of the feedback received about the IV...
country report. “As and when required, the government authorities toocould pick up the figures from the same site. Thus, t...
IX. Annexures                                                                      23Annexure- 1: Transcript of the IVRS a...
Otherwise, press “2”.If the correct figure has been entered, it is confirmed by pressing “1”. Otherwisethe correct figure ...
press “1”. Otherwise, press “2”. (If “1”, is pressed, the call goes to the teachernext in the hierarchy from whom the info...
followed by # (hash) to the automated call.                                                   26|Page                     ...
Annexure -2: Sample Data      This is a sample of the data available on the hyperlink www.upmdm.in.       Report of Mid Da...
34   HARDOI           2577   1014 3591   2451   82    470608   196690   97853   7624535   HATHRAS          957    454 1411...
Status of Mid Day Meals availed from 01.07.2010 to 30.09.2010   No. Of Schools                                 No. Of Stud...
41 KANNAUJ         1047   469 1516     1098   194     116843   54940    39851    1714242 KANPUR DEHAT    1559   669 2228  ...
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Unicef's case study ivrs-processdocumentationreport

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Unicef's case study ivrs-processdocumentationreport

  1. 1. ________________________________________________________________________Process Documentation Report 1OfIVRS Based Daily Monitoring System (DMS) for Mid-day MealScheme________________________________________________________________|Page 1
  2. 2. Contents Page NoI. Executive Summary 3 2II. Background 4III. What is IVRS? 11IV. The Process of IVRS 13V. The Situation Before and After 15VI. Impact of IVRS 17VII. Conclusion and Recommendation 20VIII. The Way Ahead for the State 20IX. Annexure 22|Page 2
  3. 3. I. Executive SummaryThe Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) is a technology whicheffectively uses the interface between computer software technology andmobile technology. The use of this system in the monitoring of the Mid 3Day Meal Scheme has proved to be a „tool of decision making in thehands of the decision-maker‟. This system has been successfullyoperationalised in Uttar Pradesh. Launched in June 2010, the IVRS hascome as the answer to the need for a convenient and cost-effectivemethod of monitoring the Mid-Day Meal Scheme on daily basis in UttarPradesh, which is part of the world‟s largest lunch programme.The IVRS entails placing system generated, automated calls to theheadmasters/teachers of government, government-aided, and localbodies-schools where mid-day meals are cooked. Each headmaster orteacher keys in the figures for their respective schools, i.e., of how manychildren have had lunch that day. The system then automaticallygenerates a data base for the entire state.Initiating such a system has had its set of challenges both in terms oftechnology and management. The major challenge in getting real timedata from almost 1.52 lakh schools was to get it through the „pull‟method, i.e., extracting the required information from the respondents.Further, this had to be done within the given timeframe after the mealsare served and before the school is closed for the day. A system like thisdoes not have to depend on the respondents to initiate the provision ofdata from their end. Again, ensuring that the teachers do not spend asingle penny to deliver the data was another major challenge. Above all,the acceptance and user-friendliness was crucial in the search for asystem that fit in terms of requirement, design and viable technology. Italso called for caution as it was one-of-a kind, and also the first of itskind with no previous models to bank on. Only then could the vision, asconceived by the Mid Day Meal Authority, way back in 2007, be realized.Overall, the end result is a success story that is worthy of emulation byvarious other sectors. Most importantly, it has brought in a system of|Page 3
  4. 4. accountability and transparency, primarily because data is availablealmost immediately. Upon stabilisation of this system, this data couldserve various other purposes, or new components could be added to theexisting process. Nevertheless, its impact has been that compliance withthe scheme has improved to a great extent, which is the ultimate 4objective of the monitoring system. This report is a processdocumentation of how this scheme was conceived and implemented; andalso the factors that have made it a successful experiment in e-governance.II. BackgroundThe Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) was launched in June 2010by the Mid Day Meal Authority (MDMA) in Uttar Pradesh to track thenumber of schools that served Mid Day Meals (MDMs) on any particularday. It also tracks the number of children who have had lunch in theschool on the prescribed working days.Mid Day Meal Scheme is a welfare scheme of the Govt. of India,implemented through the State Governments and is the largest lunchprogramme in the world. Consequently, a scheme of such scale, detailand budgetary allocation to the tune of about Rs. 1700 crore in U.P. aloneand 10,000 crore for the whole of India annually, required a stringentmonitoring system. This is a crucial requirement, as the economics ofthe scheme reveals that even a small increase at any one point wouldescalate the total costs to a great extent.The guidelines of the Mid Day Meal Scheme too provided for a web-enabled Management Information System. In 2007, a proposal for thesame was submitted by the MDMA, with options for monitoring on dailyand weekly basis. It stated, among others, that a web portal, with amessenger service that could record information on a database becreated. (Refer 3 for original concept paper).However, not much was done in the government echelons to follow-upthis proposal. Nearly three years later, the first Joint Review Mission of|Page 4
  5. 5. the Government of India (held in February 2010) with representativesfrom the Govt. of India, UNICEF and MDM,UP1, stated that “There is noproper mechanism to monitor the implementation of the MDM scheme interms of regularity, quality and quantity below district level. It issuggested that for proper monitoring, a web-based MIS for transmitting 5data directly from the school to state level should be developed. It wasfound that an action plan for SMS based daily MIS should be developed. Itwas found that an action plan for SMS based daily MIS was prepared atthe MDM authority level in July 2007, which may be helpful in designingand development of such a monitoring system”. Thereafter, the proposalreceived renewed impetus. The IVRS based concerned monitoring systemwas devised in a span of 2-3 months. It was finally tested in June 2010,and became fully operational in July 2010.At this point, it is useful to understand the system that was in operationfor monitoring until June 2010. As per this system, an MDM register isfilled up at the school, block and district level. In most cases, in practice,this number used to be taken from the attendance register, rather thanthrough a head count of the number of students who availed of thefacility on any particular day. Apart from that, the time-lag in submissionof this information leaves scope for distortion of information andsubmission of manipulated data at times. Consider the case when theaverage attendance in any school is about 55-60%, and the MDM registerhas recorded the data as 80-90%. This was a pointer that only accurateand timely information could help clarify such situations.The data provided by the schools is compiled at the block level, and thenat the district level. The compiled data is then submitted to the Mid DayMeal Authority on a monthly basis.A ringside view of the Mid Day Meal Scheme indicates its scale and detail,as described below. It also helps appreciate the need for a regular andefficient monitoring system:1 The members were: 1. Mr. Gaya Prasad, Director, MHRD, Govt. of India 2. Mr. Amod Kumar, Director,Mid Day Meal Authority, U.P. 3.Dr. Rubina Maiti, UNICEF, U.P., Lucknow 4. Mrs. Arundhati Dhuru,NGO Representative and 5. Mr.R.K. Mishra, Chief Consultant, Govt. of India|Page 5
  6. 6. A hungry child is less likely to attend school regularly. Hunger drains them of their willand ability to learn…chronic hunger also delays or stops the physical and mental growth ofchildren1The Mid Day Meal Scheme was launched in accordance with the guidelines of the 6Government of India in September 2006. As per the scheme, cooked meal was to beprovided to students of class I to V in Government, local body, government-aidedschools and those with EGS/AIE2centres. Since October 2007, upper primary schoolsunder the government and government-aided category too were included under thescheme. At present, the scheme covers 1,08,063 primary schools and 44,684 upperprimary schools. In all, 1,70,64,944 children from primary and 44,13,943 fromupper primary schools benefit from this scheme.Initially, when the National Programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education(NP-NSPE) was launched way back in 1995, it essentially offered free supply of foodgrains @ 100 gms per child per school day, and subsidy for transport of food grains.The State Governments were to provide for the cooking cost. Unable to fund the costof cooking, they began distribution of food grains, which defeated the purposebehind the Mid Day Meal Scheme. However, these difficulties were overcome whenthe Mid Day Meal Scheme was launched.As we know, malnutrition adversely affects Universalisation of Elementary Education.The objective of the Mid Day Meal Scheme is to provide the children with a basicnutritious meal, which in turn would increase the concentration and retention levelsin class. It would also bring about higher attendance rates and lower drop-out rates.There is also evidence to suggest that apart from enhancing school attendance andchild nutrition, Mid Day Meals have an important social value and foster a sense ofequality when children sit together and share a common meal.The calorific requirement within the scheme amounts to 450 cal and 12 g protein forthe primary level; and 700 cal and 20 g protein for the upper primary students. The 2 Education Guarantee Scheme/ Alternative and Innovative Education. Centres with EGS/AIE have been covered under the National Programme of Nutritional Support to primary education (NP-NPSE) since 2002, while the programme was initially launched on 15 August, 1995 as a Centrally Sponsored scheme, starting with 2408 blocks of the country. [Reference: National Programme of Nutritional Support to primary education, 2006 – Guidelines for Mid-Day Meal Scheme)] |Page 6
  7. 7. menu prepared in accordance with this requirement is as follows: Day of the Menu 7 week Monday Roti sabji with soyabean or dal ki bari with namkeen dalia Tuesday Rice sabji with dal or chawal sambhar Wednesday Khadi chawal or kheer Thursday Roti, vegetable, dal or namkeen dalia Friday Tehri Saturday Rice, vegetable with soyabean or kheerImplementing a programme of such magnitude and specifications calls for detailedand thorough planning and budgeting. As per this scheme, the cost of food grain,construction of kitchen, devices and transport is borne entirely by the centre. Onlythe „conversion cost‟.i.e., cost of condiments/vegetables/oil and the salaries of thecooks are shared between centre and state in a 75:25 per cent ratio. This conversioncost works out to Rs.2.61 per student per meal at the primary level, and Rs.4.03 forthe upper primary level. The food grains are obtained directly from the FCI go-downnearest to the school. It is the responsibility of the FCI to ensure continuous supplyof adequate food grains in its depots. The funds under the „conversion cost‟ aretransferred from the centre to the state in accordance with the relevant policies andprocedures applicable in passing on funds to the State governments. Further, thefunds under „conversion cost‟, kitchen construction and kitchen devices are directlyallocated by the State Govt. to all District Magistrates who are nodal officers forimplementing the scheme. The District Magistrates are assisted in this task by theirDistrict Basic Education Officers and an MDM cell comprising a coordinator and acomputer operator. The funds for transportation expense and MME (management,monitoring and evaluation) are allocated to MDMA. |Page 7
  8. 8. The funds allocated by the State Govt. for conversion cost are transferred to gramnidhi-V accounts of about 52,000 gram panchayats in the state through therespective district treasury for implementation of this scheme in the rural areas. Inthe urban areas, it is transferred to the accounts of wards. In some cases, thescheme is implemented through NGOs in the urban areas. The NGOs get the 8expenses reimbursed as per norms after they implement the scheme. There is also a7.5 per cent hike in the budget allocated to the MDMS every two years.The table below shows the number of schools and students availing of the scheme.Profile of Schools/Beneficiaries Primary Upper Primary TotalNo. of Schools 1.08 Lac 0.44 Lac 1.52 LacEnrolled Students 158.65 Lac 44.80 Lac 203.45 LacStudents availing MDM 102.03 Lac 35.24 Lac 137.28 Lac Number of school days in a year -220 In case of drought, the scheme runs for about 41 more days during summers Looking at the magnitude of the scheme, it is easy to appreciate why such a strong need was felt for a suitable monitoring system. It is evident that the existing monitoring system in operation was not sufficiently effective. Under the NP-NSPE, maintenance of accounts and generation of reports was generally being done manually, which was time-consuming, error-prone and labour intensive. It is difficult to generate analytical systems using such manual methods. The MDM register, which indicates details of all transactions made and materials used, is to be filled up by |Page 8
  9. 9. the Panchayat Sachivs and Gram Pradhans, but this was not being done inpractice. Further, there were several problems with this structure ofreporting, namely: No school-wise reports were available at either the district or state 9 level, which makes it difficult to identify the schools in which the meal was not served. When there is a monthly time lag in submission of data, the scope for manipulation and distortion of data remains higher. Such inaccurate reports (that consumption was higher than the actual figures) make a dent in the scarce resources available for welfare schemes. Thirdly, when the time lag is as much as a month, remedial measures itself would get delayed, thereby jeopardising the efficacy of this scheme. Fourthly, during exceptional circumstances (such as meal not being cooked/more than 90 per cent students availed the meal/ food not being cooked for more than three days), there were no „exception reports‟ available to explain the reasons for the same. In case of delay of information from any particular school, the data would take a month to become available. The physical inspection and monitoring of the scheme was being done on a random selection basis, which did not give a complete picture of the situation.Finding a Solution through IVRSThe MDMA, for long, had been on the look out for a suitable monitoringsystem. As transparency of information plays an important role in anymonitoring system, it was felt that instant information is mosttransparent, as delays would give room for manipulation. The systemwould have to be one in which information could be extracted from thebase level (school level) instead of the nodal (district) level. Taking allthese aspects into consideration, a proposal for a monitoring mechanismusing short messaging service (SMS) was submitted in 2007 by MDMA. As|Page 9
  10. 10. mentioned in the previous section, not much was done for taking up thisproposal until the recommendations from the Joint Review Mission held inFebruary 2010.The path to acquiring a suitable system went through its fair share of trial 10and error. At first, the SMS (short messaging service) method wasexplored, in which the teachers would have to pay to send the SMS acrosssome networks. But this would leave room for excuses from the teachers‟end. For example, they could cite that it costs them, or that they werebusy, or that the number was not reachable, etc. Even if their expensesare reimbursed, it would add to the burden of financial transactions andaudits. Another problem was that the teachers would need to be trainedin composing and sending messages. While it was possible to create astandard template in which to send the information, any change in this ata later stage would require another round of training.In the second phase, the option of providing the data by SMS throughdifferent networks on different mobile numbers was explored. While thissystem could work as long as the SMS was sent within the same network,it would be cumbersome, complex and expensive across networks, whereproblem of transit loss of SMS still remained unresolved. Besides, allthese methods still relied on the „push‟ mechanism, in which thepersonnel at the grassroots level had to take the initiative to send theinformation. Aware that a purely computer-based system would not beeffective at the village level, but that the mobile phone had becomecommon place, the MDMA was on the look out for a system that couldutilise the interface between computer technology and the mobile.A shift at the conceptual level explored the possibility of the „pull‟method, i.e., of extracting information from the field level. In that case,the information would be both regular and timely. It was at this stagethat a monitoring system using IVRS as the technology was devised. Thistechnology allows computer-generated calling software to be respondedto through the keying in of numbers on the phone. Although thetechnology as such is already widely used by airlines and railways to track|Page 10
  11. 11. timing and make reservations, its use in monitoring a scheme on such alarge scale was a new and unique concept. .III. What is IVRS? 11Until this time, a „pull‟ mechanism on such a mass scale was yet unheardof. But ultimately a mechanism was devised and a live demonstrationconvinced the users and stakeholders about its efficiency and viability.The Interactive Voice Response System is a technology in whichcomputer-generated calling software is to be responded to through thekeying in of numbers on the phone. It can be used to feed hundreds ofphone lines into an IVR programme and then into the internet. This isfollowed up by the creation of a website that displays data from theseonline data bases.|Page 11
  12. 12. 12This mechanism is illustrated through the diagram below: OBD OB MIS D Application & DSS Information Virtual through IVR Number(s through IVR )/ Server Internet Acknowledgement School Mid Day Meal Functionaries at District/ Division / State levels - Registration - Daily Attendance - Confirmation MIS Reports / Exception Reports etc of all schools are available here for decision making at different levelsAs the diagram illustrates, the server at the call centre is the nodal pointfrom which information is collected, processed and transmitted to therelevant website.|Page 12
  13. 13. At Level One, an outbound call is made from the centre‟s server to theschool, which is transmitted through the mobile network transmitter.The mobile numbers of the headmasters/teachers are already fed into thesystem. Each headmaster or teacher keys in the necessary data andhangs up. The data is recorded in the computer software. Finally, the 13data for the entire state is compiled and made available on a website.Through the internet, this data finally reaches the Mid Day Mealfunctionaries at the District/Division and State levels.IV. The Process of IVRSTo implement this system, a plan was drawn up, and all necessaryapprovals were taken from the Government of UP, such as the GoverningBody of the MDMA headed by the Chief Secretary and issuance of aGovernment Order. At the next stage was the more important task ofhuman resource management, which was to take into confidence all thestakeholders. An informal meeting was organised with the teacherrepresentatives. The teachers tended to be a highly „organised‟ lot. Sinceneither mobile phones nor any new SIM cards were to be given to theteachers and the system was to rely on using the personal mobile phonesof teachers, it could fail if the teachers refused to cooperate in using it tofeed the data. To overcome this aspect, a special live demonstration ofthe mechanism was organised for the teachers. In all the 820 blocks ofthe state, trainers from the Head Quarters were sent, not only to train andgive live demonstration, but to generate excitement and curiosity, andinculcate a sense that they are all in this exercise together.The demonstration provided all teachers with an opportunity to actuallykey in the information from their cell phones to this automated call andsee the information transferred on the data base. The session alsoelicited some valuable responses from the teachers that wereincorporated into the mechanism. A separate training was held for all theMDM DCs in April 2010 at Lucknow with the support of UNICEF. The DCswere trained about IVRS, and feedback taken from them.|Page 13
  14. 14. How Does the IVRS Work? The IVRS system entails placing an automatedcall to the headmaster of each school. The calls are made from thenumber 8808611111. A pre-recorded voice asks how many mid daymeals the school prepared that day. The headmaster keys in the numberand hangs up. The whole process does not take more than 30 seconds. 14In case the head master is unable to take the call, the call automaticallygoes to the teacher who comes next in the hierarchy, and then to thenext. In case the teacher/headmaster misses out on replying to the call,s/he could also give a missed call to the same number for being calledback by the System again so that he need not spend out of his pocket. Afull-fledged system of frequency of calls, call escalation, auto SMS fordefaulters sent to the upper rungs in the official hierarchy has beendesigned so that data is captured any way. Beyond this, there is a helplineor toll free number for feedback, or to convey any kind of informationrelated to the scheme. If the meal was not served, theheadmaster/teacher would punch in “0”. Any change to be made in thedata would also have to be made on the same day. The entire data basefor that day is compiled within 2-3 hours of the meal being served. (ReferAnnexure-1 for transcript IVRS call)A monthly meeting is held between the village Pradhan and headmastersof all schools, wherein the headmasters are required to verify or correctthe information, which is immediately uploaded into the system. Whilethe concerned functionaries have access to this data on a daily basisthrough a login and password, a weekly district-wise report goes to theconcerned DMs by auto-generated e-mails from the System. A list of theschools in which lunch has not been served for the last seven days isprovided in this information. The DM now has adequate informationbased on which remedial action could be taken.Operationalising the IVRS: It has taken 2-3 months to conceptualise,devise and provide a technical format to this system. To begin with, allthe schools in the state were „codified‟ and mobile numbers of about 4.5lakh teachers collected. Since the system generates calls to 1.52 lakh|Page 14
  15. 15. schools within a two-hour time frame, 60 PRI (Primary Rate Interface)3lines were hired, which was the only way through which 1800 calls couldbe made simultaneously, at the rate of 30 calls on each line. Thetelephone numbers of all concerned „data providers‟(headmasters/teachers, etc) are also programmed as per hierarchy and 15the appropriate algorithm worked out. A call centre with ten seats wasalso set up for human interface in the virtual system. The test run of thissystem began in June 2010; and it has been running successfully sinceJuly 2010.Costing: The expenses involved in the IVRS work out to be veryeconomical at Rs. 25 per school per month. This is inclusive of the costsof technology development, system installation, infrastructure andregular operational costs. However, the unit of payment is data; not thenumber of calls made – no data means no payment to the vendor despiteany number of calls that the vendor would have made to fetch the data. Athird party independent technical auditor has also been roped in so as tocheck any data fudging in the System.Since the data is compiled on a daily basis on www.upmdm.in, themonthly report provides a complete profile, from which trends could bededuced and their reasons explored.V. The Situation Before and AfterA brief summary of the situation before and after helps recognize theadvantages of the IVRS: Before the IVRS system was put in place, it would have been impossible to tell how many meals had been cooked on any particular day. But now, it is possible to tell exactly how many3 The Primary Rate Interface (PRI) is a standardized telecommunications service levelwithin the Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) specification for carrying multiplevoice and data transmissions between a network and a user.|Page 15
  16. 16. meals were cooked; and that too by the end of the same working day. The IVRS has brought in the system of daily reporting, where as earlier it would take a month to generate the compiled report. Since the day-wise report is available at the end of each working 16 day, it means that remedial action may be taken immediately, rather than at the end of the month. The IVRS system is able to generate school-wise data. The earlier system was unable to generate school-wise data, as the data used to be compiled for the entire district. But now, it is possible to know the exact number of schools in which meals were not cooked; and also the exact number of students who have had lunch in each of the schools. Since IVRS gathers information directly from the base level, i.e., the schools, the scope for distortion of data at the block or district level is eliminated. The earlier system, on the other hand, left much scope for such manipulation at both block and district levels. The IVRS provides for the data to be displayed on the website www.upmdm.in, every day, which enables functionaries at Country/State/District and Block level to access the data by using a password. As of now, the data is password protected due to security reasons. Weekly reports are e-mailed to the DMs so that the information is brought to their attention. As per IVRS, print outs of the monthly reports (compiled from daily reports) are made available to all school headmasters for verification, who verify this at the time of their monthly meeting. In case of any discrepancy or correction, the data can be rectified at this level and the same is updated on the IVRS. IVRS ensures that the teacher or headmaster does not have to spend a single penny while providing information. Earlier, the headmaster/teacher would have to make the effort to inform the ABSA5 either directly or telephonically in case meals were not cooked. The fact that the teachers do not have to spend from their pocket itself has ensured the strengthening of the IVRS. It also|Page 16
  17. 17. eliminates tasks of reimbursing and auditing such telephone expenses. For the BSA/ABSA, monitoring the Mid-day meals is an additional responsibility; as s/he does not work exclusively for the Mid Day Meal scheme. So, even in case of reports from headmasters or 17 teachers that meals were not cooked, this information would not be given the seriousness it deserves. Eventually, the matter used to be brushed aside, or concealed. In such cases, no remedial action would be taken. But now that the IVRS generates daily reports, which is available on daily basis to the District Magistrate, the BSA6 and up to the State level, it is not possible to conceal the information. The IVRS uses the „pull‟ method, whereby the user is able to independently extract information from the data providers such as the head masters and teachers within school hours. Earlier, it used to be in the hands of the teachers to report or not report the situation. The monitoring system prevalent earlier was based on manual physical monitoring, which was laborious, time-consuming and error prone. More over, it was done on a random basis. But IVRS ensures daily monitoring of each and every school that falls under the MDMS.VI. Impact of IVRSDecision Making: “Information is power”. Until the time when the IVRSbecame operational, the decision-makers, such as the MDMA/ DM/BSA/DC etc, did not have timely and accurate information, based on whichdecisions could be taken. For example, even if reports came that mealwas not cooked, there was no structured way to verify these reports.Shri Sudhansu Tripathi, Chief Finance Officer of the Mid Day MealAuthority, points out an important change in human interaction itself,ever since the IVRS has been functioning smoothly. Discussions between|Page 17
  18. 18. partners and stakeholders have become more „focused andstraightforward‟, since it is now on the basis of accurate data.Whereas earlier the MDM register showed the attendance figures as thenumber of children who availed meals, it is now done by an actual 18headcount at meal time. Consequently, the record shows fewer childrentaking meals, indicating that the earlier figures were probably inaccurate.Further, it is possible to identify the schools in which meals have notbeen cooked. For example, before the IVRS came into operation, nearly27,440 schools (out of 1.52 lakh schools) on an average were not servingmeals, but after this system, the number has reduced to around 7715,which is a drastic difference. (See Annexure 2 for comparative data ofJuly-September 2010 and December 2010 obtained through IVRS). Thisdata is verified by the headmasters of schools. Selecting a district onrandom basis for comparison, for e.g., Ballia, the July-Sep report shows638 schools where the meal was not cooked. The December reportshows less than half that number, i.e., 235 schools where the meal wasnot cooked.The overall impact has been that the number of schools in which mealsare not cooked has reduced substantially. The data received over the lastfew months also indicates a trend wherein the number of schools notserving meals is decreasing over time.In schools where meals have not been cooked, it is possible to identifythese schools in order to ascertain the reasons for the same and requestfor exception reports. For example, if a large number of schools werenot cooking meals, it is most likely indicative of some systemic problemwithin. The IVRS conveys the situation to the DC or DM through weeklyreports. In such cases, it is unlikely that it will be let off withoutquestioning the concerned bodies, such as the panchayat or the schoolheadmasters, whose telephone numbers are available in the report. Whileit is the responsibility of the panchayat (through the village Pradhan) toimplement MDMS, the system creates some level of pressure on the|Page 18
  19. 19. Pradhans to ensure that the meal is cooked. They are aware that dailyreports reach all the authorities, right from the BSA to the Govt. of India.Consequently, it has brought in greater accountability of the villagepanchayat. 19The IVRS system has seen maximum acceptance from the teachers. Theteachers were vested with the duty of reporting non-compliance of thescheme to the ABSA. Earlier, during the monitoring exercises, there havebeen cases where the teachers have been suspended if the meal was notcooked; for no fault of theirs. Although they might have reported thematter to the ABSA, there would be no remedial action due to the heavyworkload of the ABSA. (Monitoring of MDMS is an additional responsibilityof the ABSA). For e.g., if a situation comes to light that a hundredschools have not served the meal, then it casts a poor image of the ABSA,who would most likely conceal the information. This practice ofconcealing then moves up from the ABSA to the BSA/ district level. In theIVRS, the information provided by the teachers is available up to the Govt.level, thereby eliminating the scope for concealment or denial ofinformation.However, creating acceptance for this system has had its share ofresistance as well. During the early stages, functionaries at the localgovernance level (the ABSA, the pradhan), had alleged that theinformation provided through this system was incorrect. MDMA alsowanted to ensure that no information distortion was occurring at thedata-base level. To set the record straight, a third party auditor has beenintroduced. This audit is conducted on a random basis, which alsoincluded cross-checking the data. It was found that the informationrecorded was correct, thereby validating IVRS as a system functioning asplanned.There is always a chance that the headmaster or teacher could key in thewrong figure, perhaps even deliberately. In such cases, says Tripathi, “atrend would be visible in due course, and remedial action could betaken”.|Page 19
  20. 20. However, the system is yet not able to provide data from 100 per centschools. The reasons need to be ascertained. In the schools where mealsare not cooked, the records also indicate that it is not the same set ofschools where this happens. 20In the earlier system, only quarterly reports were generated. In theaccounting procedures, the amount allocated as fund itself used to beshown as expense incurred. But now there is sufficient data to crosscheck the number of students availing meals (i.e., number of mealscooked) with the amount of grain lifted and the conversion cost incurred,thereby making it possible to calculate the total expense incurred. Thiscould then be cross-checked with the fund allocated.VII. Conclusion and RecommendationThe successful functioning of the IVRS has enabled the creation of a cost-effective and convenient mechanism, providing accurate figures forplanning and monitoring the MDMS. It has also set new trends in e-governance, so useful and timely for welfare schemes across UttarPradesh and the country. At the National Steering cum Monitoringmeeting held at New Delhi on 20.10.2010, a live demonstration of theIVRS was provided to its members, along with a concise explanation ofthe pros and cons of the system. Convinced about its functionality, theNational Infomatics Centre (NIC), GOI is now in the process of developingsuch a model for all states based on the Uttar Pradesh experience.In view of the above factors, it may be recommended that the IVRS couldbe scaled up across various functions within the Education sector, andalso extrapolated to other sectors that are much in need of transparentand timely tracking and monitoring systems.VIII. The Way Ahead for the StateFor the MDMA, it has been a deliberate decision to utilise and thereafterboost this system one step at a time. Shri Amod Kumar, former Director|Page 20
  21. 21. of MDMA, says the challenge is in using this information for properplanning. Some of the feedback received about the IVRS indicatedscepticism due to „over-information‟ that is being generated. However,Kumar felt that since the costs are as low as 0.2% of the entireexpenditure, it is anyway worth having this system in place. 21All efforts need to be made to obtain information from 100 per centschools.At present, the system „pulls‟ or extracts only one kind of data, i.e.,whether meals were served, and the number of children who have hadmeals. In future, this system could extend to extracting otherinformation such as attendance of students and teachers.MDMA is awaiting complete stabilisation of the system in order tointroduce other parameters such as codes for reasons why the meal wasnot cooked. Although this was planned, it has been put on hold for thetime being.At present, this information is being used purely for monitoring purposesby the MDMA. The plan is to make the data available on the publicdomain. The information could be made available to other stakeholdersthrough registration by paying a token registration fee. Such a systemcould make the project self-sustaining and provide a successful „businessmodel‟ in future. While social activists or NGOs could use theinformation, it would work as a social audit. This automatically creates amechanism of social audit and community ownership.The bank accounts for the MDMS are now maintained at the school levelas per a Government Order. The accounts are being operated with thesignatures of the headmaster and the Pradhan, whereas earlier it used tobe signed by the pradhan and the panchayat sachiv. It is linked to CoreBanking Solutions (CBS), which enables tracking of withdrawals made foreach school. By comparing the amount of food grains lifted with thenumber of children who have had meals that month, and further cross-checking with bank withdrawals, it is possible to generate a complete|Page 21
  22. 22. country report. “As and when required, the government authorities toocould pick up the figures from the same site. Thus, the scheme will leaveno scope for bogus reporting”, reiterates Kumar. 22|Page 22
  23. 23. IX. Annexures 23Annexure- 1: Transcript of the IVRS automated callTo obtain school enrolment:On the first working day of every month, an automated call is made from thenumber 88 086 11111 to obtain the school enrolment for that month.Consider the call is being made to Shri Ram Aadhar Rawat Primary School,Morna, Block Lambua, District Sultanpur. The call goes:“Namaskar. Shri, Ram Aadhar Rawatji, this is a call from the office of the Mid DayMeal Authority Office, Uttar Pradesh. We would like to verify your mobilenumber. Your name is Ram Aadar Rawat, post is Headmaster, Primary School,Morna, Block Lambua. If you would like this information to be repeated, pleasepress “1”. If the information is correct, please press “2”. If any part of thisinformation is incorrect, please press “3”. …the call continues…This call is from the office of the Mid Day Meal Authority, Uttar Pradesh. This callis being made to obtain the number of students currently enrolled in yourschool. Kindly provide the total enrolment number in your school by enteringthe number on your phone, followed by # (hash).(For example, if the total enrolment number is 95, then press 9, 5, followed by #(hash).The call goes: “You have entered the number ninety-five. To confirm, press “1”.|Page 23
  24. 24. Otherwise, press “2”.If the correct figure has been entered, it is confirmed by pressing “1”. Otherwisethe correct figure may be entered.To obtain number of students who have had lunch on a particular day: 24Similarly, an automated call is made from the number 88 086 11111 to obtainthe number of students who have had lunch that day. The call goes:“Namaskar. Shri, Ram Aadhar Rawatji, this is a call from the office of the Mid DayMeal Authority Office, Uttar Pradesh. Please enter the number of students inyour school who have taken lunch today by pressing the digits between “0” and“9”, followed by # (hash).(For example, if 56 students had lunch that day, then press 5, 6, followed by #(hash). This will be verified with the voice saying:“You have entered fifty six. To confirm, press one, otherwise, press “2”. If thenumber provided is correct, then press one. To change the number, press “2” tore-enter the correct number”.If the headmaster or teacher is unable to provide any of this information, or ifthe headmaster or teacher does not get a call, s/he could give a missed call onthe same number. The call is returned within five minutes, and the headmasteror teacher may enter the correct information. If a wrong figure has been enteredfor some reason, a repeat call could be made on the same working day to thenumber 88 086 11111, to provide the correct figure.(Those schools which fall in the National Capital Region (NCR) may kindly add “0” beforedialling the number.)However, if the headmaster or teacher is unable to provide the information (dueto being on leave, teaching/training, travelling, etc), then s/he needs to press *(star) to the call.The voice says, “Are you unavailable to provide the information today?” If yes,|Page 24
  25. 25. press “1”. Otherwise, press “2”. (If “1”, is pressed, the call goes to the teachernext in the hierarchy from whom the information will be taken. If “2” is pressed,the information may be entered. 25For loss of mobile or change in mobile number: If the headmaster or teacher haslost his/her mobile phone, or if there is a change in the mobile number, then acall could be made on 88086 22222. The call disconnects after 3-4 rings.There will be a return call within five minutes. The call goes: “Namaskar. this isa call from the office of the Mid Day Meal Authority. Kindly enter you previousmobile number by pressing the buttons on your phone. You will enter thenumber 9415836524# (for e.g.).This will be verified by the message “The number you have entered is nine-four-one-five-eight-three-six-five-two-four. To confirm, press “1”. Otherwise press“2”. Following this, the new number may be entered. This is verified andbecomes operational within two days.1800 1800 666 is a toll free helpline to convey suggestions or feedbackregarding the mid-day meal scheme. The call centre executives are available totake queries from 8 am to 4 pm on all working days. In case of a change in theheadmaster/teachers, or change in the address of the school, the updates mayalso be provided through this number.At the end of every month, the data is made available at the monthly meetings ofschool headmasters for verification. The data is also available on the websitewww.upmdm.in .Note: These numbers are functional from 01.06.2010 onwardsThe Daily Monitoring System is free of cost. To receive calls, to give missed calls on thetoll free number, you need not bear the expense.Note: For some reason, if no lunch has been cooked in your school, then enter “0”|Page 25
  26. 26. followed by # (hash) to the automated call. 26|Page 26
  27. 27. Annexure -2: Sample Data This is a sample of the data available on the hyperlink www.upmdm.in. Report of Mid Day Meals availed from 20.12.2010 to 28.12.2010 27 No. Of Schools No. Of Students PS UPSSr * District * PS * UPS * Total * Data * Meal * * Meal * * MealNo. Received Not EnrollmentServed EnrollmentServed for from Served In ( for ( (Average) (Average)(Out of Collection (Average) Collection received under under data) progress ) progress ) (Average) UTTAR PRADESH 10509245583 15067599812 7715 14832420 6695098 2863698 22849021 AGRA 1885 808 2693 1896 84 241382 121083 49191 407212 ALIGARH 1753 765 2518 1693 33 232646 93819 28083 323853 ALLAHABAD 2405 1076 3481 2452 69 423220 180944 66067 605694 AMBEDKARNAGAR 1284 582 1866 1336 169 198169 86628 32706 353515 AURAIYA 1029 496 1525 1029 50 100010 48730 21753 220746 AZAMGARH 2206 1037 3243 2467 122 395815 216911 83842 738137 BADAUN 2076 757 2833 1765 95 326762 133578 63188 397698 BAGHPAT 491 186 677 545 4 62679 42329 10116 105639 BAHRAICH 2235 981 3216 2006 239 397119 131702 27838 3586410 BALLIA 1938 637 2575 1677 235 302783 123631 54427 3749011 BALRAMPUR 1257 665 1922 1126 165 184012 72773 25679 1633312 BANDA 1323 639 1962 1331 137 219661 82841 44965 3209413 BARABANKI 1951 778 2729 1844 96 262858 134324 72523 5581014 BAREILLY 2016 649 2665 1640 384 269054 94780 46851 2357915 BASTI 1561 685 2246 1558 97 199916 109426 56432 4109916 BHADOHI(SR 646 366 1012 740 30 152146 55817 30517 25283 Nagar)17 BIJNOR 1756 750 2506 1598 48 186229 89955 59643 3189918 BULANDSHAHR 1648 841 2489 1321 51 197693 73533 41335 2381219 CHANDAULI 988 499 1487 964 55 200901 78124 33791 3246920 CHITRAKOOT 891 441 1332 945 22 122732 55961 31562 2314421 CSM Nagar 1326 496 1822 1208 147 171252 90330 47240 2986322 DEORIA 1732 737 2469 1482 104 264801 108026 47597 3290723 ETAH 1224 549 1773 1231 88 137420 80421 39135 2570024 FAIZABAD 1346 575 1921 1327 94 203434 85933 31174 3047225 FARRUKHABAD 1169 608 1777 1192 331 164797 53489 36879 2116726 FATEHPUR 1711 702 2413 1706 160 231943 110777 35845 3887127 FIROZABAD 1492 602 2094 1337 213 136779 67605 30011 1925928 G.B.Nagar 464 218 682 356 2 54362 21508 6096 678129 GHAZIPUR 1774 808 2582 1738 68 268235 159628 51049 4714530 GHAZIYABAD 834 380 1214 719 116 121553 41369 15364 1263531 GONDA 1888 887 2775 1875 314 318905 127044 51872 3724332 GORAKHPUR 2020 788 2808 1766 101 222926 130581 54973 3843733 HAMIRPUR 798 385 1183 759 28 107559 42488 24101 19149 |Page 27
  28. 28. 34 HARDOI 2577 1014 3591 2451 82 470608 196690 97853 7624535 HATHRAS 957 454 1411 909 39 114034 50911 16109 1864436 ITAWAH 1189 583 1772 947 151 103755 33649 24384 1507937 J. P. NAGAR 1052 449 1501 1007 37 116257 55232 19114 1677038 JALAUN 1259 586 1845 1294 45 140358 64412 24074 2778139 JAUNPUR 2264 884 3148 2192 98 439184 206002 60156 5890440 JHANSI 1164 540 1704 1243 8 164205 68049 33521 3059741 KANNAUJ 1047 469 1516 1045 70 116843 62887 39851 24581 2842 KANPUR DEHAT 1559 669 2228 1446 139 122003 64401 45101 2498643 KANPUR NAGAR 1674 668 2342 1621 36 161366 90760 30718 3537444 KASHIRAM NAGAR 920 460 1380 959 112 135509 63261 17983 1738345 KAUSHAMBI 924 471 1395 1055 187 162291 67000 15408 1597646 KUSHINAGAR 1804 824 2628 1916 136 288350 158840 52012 4056747 LAKHIMPUR KHERI 2379 1123 3502 2367 36 421415 182591 87724 7344248 LALITPUR 929 482 1411 881 69 150075 53051 32613 2432449 LUCKNOW 1408 508 1916 1033 121 183783 54605 19812 1792150 MAHOBA 667 353 1020 681 63 81050 37938 21895 1590551 MAHRAJGANJ 1312 657 1969 1347 144 233484 103124 39015 3120652 MAINPURI 1509 573 2082 1460 123 115407 84200 32974 2992753 MATHURA 1257 582 1839 1152 85 109094 64844 31674 2403254 MAU 1093 528 1621 1048 80 202744 70861 30658 2944955 MEERUT 992 492 1484 968 48 105350 52915 17818 1915056 MIRZAPUR 1487 579 2066 1454 68 262677 111115 37799 3629057 MORADABAD 1963 852 2815 1638 101 243435 111776 53677 3265958 MUZAFFARNAGAR 1395 648 2043 1198 217 173931 72946 37776 2306559 PILIBHIT 1200 566 1766 1254 102 140944 77150 57496 3322060 PRATAPGARH 1761 600 2361 1574 129 235545 121046 38751 3441161 RAE BARELI 1320 521 1841 1168 176 199112 73339 37164 2491262 RAMPUR 1282 560 1842 1290 60 174820 70929 20881 2304663 SAHARANPUR 1381 587 1968 1484 76 165090 88254 34121 3172364 SANT KABIR NAGAR 1008 439 1447 920 61 144936 63947 28032 2088365 SHAHJAHANPUR 2333 889 3222 1790 137 337865 113279 54246 3874866 SHRAWASTI 797 384 1181 717 175 95806 36286 25627 1085167 SIDDHARTHNAGAR 1555 710 2265 1444 94 210686 119944 40731 3316468 SITAPUR 2622 1111 3733 2584 160 447951 165752 58645 5651669 SONBHADRA 1298 568 1866 1252 43 206895 91169 37434 3381970 SULTANPUR 1451 609 2060 1449 81 171150 110940 52930 4099071 UNNAO 2048 791 2839 1919 144 222619 123220 51306 4317372 VARANASI 1138 427 1565 1026 31 182040 111695 54770 45439 |Page 28
  29. 29. Status of Mid Day Meals availed from 01.07.2010 to 30.09.2010 No. Of Schools No. Of Students PS UPSSr * District * PS * UPS * Total * Data * Meal * * Meal * * MealNo. Received Not Enrollment Served Enrollment Served from Served In ( for ( for (Average) (Out of Collection (Average) Collection (Average) 29 received under under data) progress ) progress ) (Average) UTTAR PRADESH 1050924558315067597529 27440 14832420 4551986 2863698 12997471 AGRA 1885 808 2693 1675 419 241382 83518 49191 208232 ALIGARH 1753 765 2518 1647 474 232646 64064 28083 182173 ALLAHABAD 2405 1076 3481 2346 342 423220 136852 66067 388574 AMBEDKARNAGAR 1284 582 1866 1205 297 198169 60147 32706 180285 AURAIYA 1029 496 1525 993 300 100010 31519 21753 135156 AZAMGARH 2206 1037 3243 2224 876 395815 107350 83842 357267 BADAUN 2076 757 2833 2044 850 326762 91920 63188 216698 BAGHPAT 491 186 677 421 68 62679 27559 10116 44449 BAHRAICH 2235 981 3216 1825 782 397119 70442 27838 1584010 BALLIA 1938 637 2575 1665 638 302783 78028 54427 2079311 BALRAMPUR 1257 665 1922 1136 441 184012 48499 25679 757512 BANDA 1323 639 1962 1404 347 219661 67394 44965 2169213 BARABANKI 1951 778 2729 1658 302 262858 86604 72523 2566414 BAREILLY 2016 649 2665 1528 565 269054 69542 46851 1248015 BASTI 1561 685 2246 1446 383 199916 69779 56432 2114416 BHADOHI(SR 646 366 1012 743 170 152146 40614 30517 15991 Nagar)17 BIJNOR 1756 750 2506 1834 525 186229 62562 59643 2007818 BULANDSHAHR 1648 841 2489 1532 201 197693 71061 41335 2074519 CHANDAULI 988 499 1487 949 198 200901 57742 33791 1924020 CHITRAKOOT 891 441 1332 974 131 122732 49228 31562 1729821 CSM Nagar 1326 496 1822 1272 283 171252 71889 47240 1800022 DEORIA 1732 737 2469 1682 620 264801 78576 47597 2250623 ETAH 1224 549 1773 1084 389 137420 44201 39135 1206524 FAIZABAD 1346 575 1921 1188 161 203434 64924 31174 2078625 FARRUKHABAD 1169 608 1777 1207 467 164797 43891 36879 1513326 FATEHPUR 1711 702 2413 1717 295 231943 85551 35845 2600227 FIROZABAD 1492 602 2094 1339 560 136779 45905 30011 1104728 G.B.Nagar 464 218 682 350 36 54362 22074 6096 442929 GHAZIPUR 1774 808 2582 1367 473 268235 74506 51049 1942430 GHAZIYABAD 834 380 1214 526 89 121553 26973 15364 634331 GONDA 1888 887 2775 1843 773 318905 81452 51872 1842732 GORAKHPUR 2020 788 2808 1600 606 222926 76591 54973 1824933 HAMIRPUR 798 385 1183 896 123 107559 41566 24101 1579034 HARDOI 2577 1014 3591 2372 635 470608 131824 97853 4021035 HATHRAS 957 454 1411 921 262 114034 33223 16109 1110636 ITAWAH 1189 583 1772 1109 218 103755 36410 24384 1535037 J. P. NAGAR 1052 449 1501 977 188 116257 41209 19114 883638 JALAUN 1259 586 1845 1182 348 140358 36455 24074 1391639 JAUNPUR 2264 884 3148 2153 704 439184 125943 60156 3297740 JHANSI 1164 540 1704 1182 157 164205 53114 33521 21099|Page 29
  30. 30. 41 KANNAUJ 1047 469 1516 1098 194 116843 54940 39851 1714242 KANPUR DEHAT 1559 669 2228 1168 250 122003 42119 45101 1207943 KANPUR NAGAR 1674 668 2342 1635 177 161366 67339 30718 2298544 KASHIRAM NAGAR 920 460 1380 782 405 135509 25298 17983 652745 KAUSHAMBI 924 471 1395 1012 253 162291 53383 15408 1113746 KUSHINAGAR 1804 824 2628 1874 912 288350 78161 52012 1899547 LAKHIMPUR KHERI 2379 1123 3502 2157 673 421415 104214 87724 3302548 LALITPUR 929 482 1411 886 253 150075 40279 32613 16832 3049 LUCKNOW 1408 508 1916 1154 238 183783 55472 19812 1587850 MAHOBA 667 353 1020 631 175 81050 25802 21895 937251 MAHRAJGANJ 1312 657 1969 1350 624 233484 57105 39015 1717252 MAINPURI 1509 573 2082 1492 331 115407 62152 32974 1970853 MATHURA 1257 582 1839 1046 196 109094 50749 31674 1513954 MAU 1093 528 1621 1079 191 202744 60484 30658 2147255 MEERUT 992 492 1484 874 225 105350 35859 17818 1136056 MIRZAPUR 1487 579 2066 1516 347 262677 83171 37799 2192357 MORADABAD 1963 852 2815 1713 566 243435 73000 53677 16601 Processing...58 MUZAFFARNAGAR 1395 648 2043 1242 250 173931 70879 37776 1786659 PILIBHIT 1200 566 1766 1303 411 140944 49054 57496 1646760 PRATAPGARH 1761 600 2361 1595 367 235545 86488 38751 2103361 RAE BARELI 1320 521 1841 1284 271 199112 65080 37164 2133262 RAMPUR 1282 560 1842 1277 353 174820 48278 20881 1055663 SAHARANPUR 1381 587 1968 1504 333 165090 63260 34121 1899164 SANT KABIR 1008 439 1447 951 471 144936 31664 28032 8561 NAGAR65 SHAHJAHANPUR 2333 889 3222 1641 443 337865 75938 54246 1806966 SHRAWASTI 797 384 1181 694 357 95806 20665 25627 347267 SIDDHARTHNAGAR1555 710 2265 1403 675 210686 54556 40731 1262868 SITAPUR 2622 1111 3733 2407 783 447951 109387 58645 2950669 SONBHADRA 1298 568 1866 1193 168 206895 67583 37434 2133970 SULTANPUR 1451 609 2060 1431 409 171150 69656 52930 2155971 UNNAO 2048 791 2839 2023 338 222619 93481 51306 2740372 VARANASI 1138 427 1565 898 105 182040 85789 54770 22104This is a password-protected site. Once the log in and password areentered, one can view the district details as given below. One needs toenter the dates for which data is required. By clicking on the districtname, one can view details for each block in that district. By clicking onthe name of the required block, one can view the details of each school,both urban and rural.|Page 30

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