A group of nutritionists, doctors, activists, lawyers, and citizens have petitioned the State government to provide ration kits to students in government and aided schools.
The State government has not provided dry ration kits that includes rice and pulses to students since June.
In a statement, they have stated that they are “shocked and concerned” that the government has not been providing the legally mandated midday meal or even dry rations since June to children enrolled in government-run and government-aided schools, which is a gross violation of their right to food and nutrition guaranteed under the National Food Security Act 2013. They have also said that the milk powder under the Ksheera Bhagya programme should also be supplied to the students.
The Hindu last week reported that after schools closed because of COVID-19 in March, midday meals were stopped and the State government had provided ration kits that included rice and toor dal for three months till May.
As many as 48 lakh children from classes 1 to 10 in government and aided schools depend on the midday meals. Many parents had also pointed out that as their livelihoods were affected owing to the pandemic, the nutrition levels of the children were also affected. Majority of the children in these schools come from lower socio-economic backgrounds and marginalised communities.
Officials of the Department of Public Instruction stated that the dry rations would soon be supplied to the children in government and aided schools as soon as a government order was issued.
“We are hoping to provide rations forJune and July as soon as possible. The rations for the subsequent months will also be provided,” the official added.