A Dignified Meal

Negotiated Spaces in India’s School Meal Program

in The International Journal of Social Quality
Restricted access

Abstract

In human rights literature, human dignity is the foundation of human rights. Thus, scholarly literature has focused on rights to further enhance dignity. In this article, we argue that rights alone provide only a minimum of dignity. We examine India’s right to food legislation and its implementation in school meal programs. Based on our observations, we argue that discretion and negotiation are complementary institutional spaces that can be developed for the meaningful enjoyment of rights and thus dignity. The negotiations that take place between school management committees and schoolteachers determine the dignity of the midday meal by improving meal quality and nutritional content, infrastructural facilities, and working arrangements for the cooking and delivery of meals. The findings are based on a study of four schools in the states of Kerala and West Bengal and on a review of studies on the midday meal programs in other Indian states.

Contributor Notes

Sony Pellissery is an Associate Professor at the Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy at National Law School University in Bangalore, India. He focuses on the delivery of antipoverty measures in rural and urban India. He is a leading national scholar on poverty-related research and comparative perspectives in policy theory. He was awarded the Ram Reddy Memorial Social Scientist Award in 2015.

Sattwick Dey Biswas is a doctoral student at the TU Dortmund University, Germany. He holds a master’s degree in social work from Visva-Bharati University in India and Oslo and Akershus University College. He has worked as a social worker in Indonesia and as a research assistant at the Institute of Rural Management Anand and the National Law School of India University. His research interests include land policy, theories of justice, poverty, and inequity.

Biju Abraham is an assistant professor of economics at NMSM Government College Kalpetta. He received his education at the Centre for Economic and Social Studies (CESS) in Hyderabad, the Department of Economics at Pondicherry University, and Oslo and Akershus University College. His areas of interest include public policy, natural resource management, and environmental economics.

The International Journal of Social Quality

(formerly The European Journal of Social Quality)

  • AbrahamB. 2016. “Shame of Poverty: Comparative Analysis of Shaming Experience in Welfare Programmes Provided in Public and Private Institutions.” MA thesis, Oslo University College.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • ChaseE. and G. Bantabya Kyomuhendo. 2014. Poverty and Shame: Global Experiences. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • CSF (Central Square Foundation). 2015. “Empowering Communities, Enhancing Education: Strengthening School Management Committees in India.” New Delhi: Central Square Foundation.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • DasS. K. 2001. Public Office Private Gains: Bureaucracy and Corruption in India. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • DrezeJ. and A. Sen. 2013. An Uncertain Glory: India and Its Contradictions. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

  • GubriumE.S. Pellissery and I. Lødemel. 2013. The Shame of It: Global Perspectives on Anti-poverty Policies. Bristol: Policy.

  • HoodC. 1998. The Art of the State: Culture Rhetoric and Public Management. New York: Oxford University Press.

  • International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). 2016. Global Hunger Index. Washington, DC: International Food Policy Research Institute.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • KakarS. and K. Kakar. 2009. The Indias: Portrait of a People. Delhi: Viking.

  • KaufmannF.X. 2012. European Foundations of the Welfare State. Oxford: Berghahn Books.

  • KumarS. 2015. “Express Report Prods Karnataka to Act, End Boycott of Dalit Cook.” Indian Express10 November. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/express-report-prods-karnataka-to-act-end-dalit-cooks-boycott.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • LipskyM. 1980. Street-level Bureaucracy: Dilemmas of Individuals in Public Services. New York: Russel Sage Foundation.

  • MHRD (Ministry of Human Resource Development). 2006. Annual Report 2005–06. New Delhi: Department of Elementary Education and Literacy, Government of India.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • NarayanK. and J. Mooij. 2010. “Solutions to Teacher Absenteeism in Rural Government Primary Schools in India: A Comparison of Management Approaches.” Open Education Journal 3: 6371.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • PellisseryS. 2008. “Social Hierarchies, Economic Inequalities and Interpersonal Relationships: An Overview from India.” Interpersona 2 (2): 243250.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • PellisseryS.I. Lødemel and E. Gubrium. 2013. “Shame and Shaming in Policy Processes.” In Gubrium et al. 2013: 179198.

  • PellisseryS. and L. Mathew. 2013. “Thick Poverty, Thicker Society and Thin State: Policy Spaces for Human Dignity in India.” In Gubrium et al. 3760.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • PellisseryS. and L. Mathew. 2014a. “‘I am Not Alone’: Experiences of Poverty-Induced Shame in a Moral Economy.” In Chase and Bantabya Kyomuhendo 2014: 137149.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • PellisseryS. and L. Mathew. 2014b. “Persistence of Shaming in a Hierarchical Society.” In Chase and Bantabya Kyomuhendo 2014: 231250.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • PEO (Performance Evaluation Organisation). 2010. Performance Evaluation of Cooked Mid-Day Meal. New Delhi: Planning Commission.

  • RiggsF.W. 1964. Administration in Developing Countries: Theory of Prismatic Societies. London: Houghton Mifflin.

  • SinghS. 2015. “In Bihar Primary School Where Mid-day Meal Killed 23, Children Go Hungry.” Indian Express10 September. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/in-bihar-primary-school-where-mid-day-meal-killed-23-children-go-hungry.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • TitmussR. 1968. Commitment to Welfare. New York: Pantheon.

  • WaldronJ. 2012. “Dignity, Rights, and Responsibilities.” Arizona State Law Journal 43: 1107.

  • WeberM. 1958. “Politics as a Vocation.” In Max Weber: Essays in Sociology. Ed. and trans. H. H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills77128. New York: Oxford University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • WalkerR. 2014. The Shame of Poverty. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • WalkerR.G. Bantebya KyomuhendoE. ChaseS. ChoudhryE.K. GubriumJ.Y. NicolaI. Lødemel et al. 2013. “Poverty in Global Perspective: Is Shame a Global Denominator?Journal of Social Policy 42 (2): 215233.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 1 1 1
Full Text Views 8 8 7
PDF Downloads 2 2 1