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Updated: July 20, 2013 15:59 IST

Midday meal: Centre for collective responsibility

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Union Minister for Human Resource Development M.M. Pallam Raju said on Saturday that it is time to “wake up” and take “collective responsibility”. File photo
The Hindu
Union Minister for Human Resource Development M.M. Pallam Raju said on Saturday that it is time to “wake up” and take “collective responsibility”. File photo

Amid the blame game between the Centre and Bihar government over the midday meal tragedy, the Human Resource Development Minister Pallam Raju on Saturday said it is time to “wake up” and take “collective responsibility”.

The minister said government wants that the central government scheme is implemented properly and has hence constituted a review committee, which will look into the quality of the programme.

“It is certain that we will be strengthening the mechanism towards implementing the scheme,” he told reporters in New Delhi.

The Union minister said he has received the report by the Saran administration over the incident, which talks about “shortcomings in the way food was stored and how that one factor led to the unfortunate incident. But we are awaiting forensic report, which will give greater detail about what is happening.”

To a question about the Bihar government denying receiving any alert as claimed by his ministry, Raju said, “I I know there is a monitoring mechanism committee whose job is to find out loopholes and shortcoming. They have particularly pointed out to those 12 districts.”

He, was, however, quick to add, “Now this is not a question of who has done what.”

“It is the time that all of us should wake up...It is a collective responsibility. It is not responsibility of state alone. It is the responsibility of local community, school management committee and district administration to ensure things are going to function,” Mr. Raju said.

The minister said that when we know that this is the scheme, which is going to provide nutrition to our children, “we should strengthen it and the focus should be on that”.

The midday meal tragedy has sparked a blame game with the Bihar government refuting Centre’s contention that it had sent alerts to 12 districts, including Saran, where 23 children died after consuming food, over implementation of the scheme.

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To avoid such horrific incidents in the future, the meals ought to be organised through a reputed NGO or caterer, utilising the services of local womens self help groups. This will also give employment to the locals. The concerned authorities should conduct periodic surprise checks to ensure that hygiene standards are always in place. They could also enlist the help of parents by rotation.

from:  G Mehra
Posted on: Jul 22, 2013 at 13:34 IST

The midday meal was a tool to increase enrollment of students in the schools. Now will parents send their children to school instead of sending him to work where he can earn some money. The Bihar midday meal tragedy and since than many similar news from different places of the country has been appearing in news. It clearly shows that there is a lack of nationalism in Indians so they never think about growth or development of nation what they care about is money.

from:  Govindsingh
Posted on: Jul 21, 2013 at 17:59 IST

Who will form the "collective" ? I sincerely hope and demand as a citizen of India, that
the Food Safety Standards Authority of India, as well as the sanitation department of
the local body are also part of the "collective". I demand that all food service outfits
throughout the country be HACCP certified and make HACCP certificate a necessary
condition for running any kind of food service or processing outfit.

from:  K Srinivasamurthy
Posted on: Jul 21, 2013 at 07:45 IST
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