Lakhs of students enrolled in government and aided schools, who had not received dry ration kits since June, will soon get some relief. The State government has issued an order for the release of funds to provide food grains and toor dal (equivalent to cooking cost) to all the eligible students from class one to ten.
The order, issued on Tuesday by the Primary and Secondary education department, stated that ₹449.84 crore has been sanctioned for this purpose.
The food grains will be provided for the period from June to October 2020. In October, The Hindu had reported how 48 lakh children — a majority from lower socio-economic backgrounds and marginalised communities — had not received the promised ration kits for five months.
When schools closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic in March and mid-day meals were stopped, the State government provided ration kits that included rice and toor dal for three months till May. However, it has not distributed rations to students from June to October. Many activists, including public health experts, doctors and other civil society members, had petitioned the government demanding that the ration kits be released.
The Department of Public Instruction has been directed to come out with detailed guidelines on how the food grains will be distributed.
“In the wake of COVID-19, the Finance Department’s austerity instructions must be followed. The sanctioned amount should be spent on priority basis for grain cost, toor dal (expenditure of cooking), transportation and service charge to Karnataka Food and Civil Supplies Corporation Limited (KFCSC),” stated the order.
The department commissioner has been directed to approach the Union government for the second installment of funds after spending the sanctioned funds for 2020-21 under mid-day meal scheme.