Mumbai

‘Resume foodgrain supply to government-aided institutions’

Workers at a foodgrain market.

Workers at a foodgrain market.   | Photo Credit: Kamal Narang

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Over 2 lakh students being deprived of food: State to Centre

The State government has requested the Central government to revoke its March 2019 decision to stop supply of foodgrain to government-aided institutions and SC/ST/OBC hostels under the Allocation of foodgrains under Welfare Institutions and Hostels Scheme.

Chhagan Bhujbal, State Minister for Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection, has written to Ram Vilas Paswan, his counterpart in the Central government, requesting him to reconsider the decision as it has affected over two lakh students in Maharashtra.

In March last year, the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution had written to all State governments and Union Territories (UTs) informing them about the change of norms in the scheme.

According to the new rules, only welfare institutions and SC/ST/OBC hostels either owned or run by States, UTs or administrative ministries are eligible for the allocation of foodgrain.

Inadequate supplies

In Maharashtra, the change in rule affected 2,289 government-aided institutions and hostels and 2,19,151 students. The State then issued a government resolution on August 8, 2019, stating that foodgrain will be made available only to 97,609 beneficiaries in government-owned institutions. The State government then provided aided institutions ₹900 per student per month, which was reportedly inadequate.

Mr. Bhujbal said, “The grant turned out to be just ₹30 per day. It is impossible to provide two meals and breakfast to one student with this amount. We have requested the Central government to ensure that government-aided institutions are brought back into the scheme. They are doing the work that the government should do. We can tighten the supervisory mechanism, but it is not right to deprive students of food.”

He said a copy of the letter has been sent to the Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, who has agreed to follow-up on the issue with the Centre.

Mr. Bhujbal said as per the norm, each student requires around 30 kg of foodgrain and the addition of government-aided institutions would mean increase in supply of 39,000 tonnes per annum. “We are talking about helping over two lakh students from deprived communities. I hope the Central government will take a positive decision in this matter” Mr. Bhujbal said.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 7:06:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/resume-foodgrain-supply-to-government-aided-institutions/article30538392.ece

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