‘Re-start meal scheme in schools’

Child rights activists and students unions have urged the State government to resume mid-day meals for schoolchildren to ensure that they don’t suffer from starvation.

In a letter to the Chief Minister, All India Democratic Students Organisation (AIDSO) has sought re-starting the mid-day meal programme in all government schools of the State, that was stopped during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Mid-day meal is a long-term programme that should never be discontinued. It is the only way in which children from poor families get nutritious food. The programme should be resumed immediately, even if schools are reopened later, the letter said. As a result of the lockdown, the State government has not distributed either foodgrains or milk powder to schoolchildren, that were given to them as part of the mid-day meal or Ksheera Bhagya scheme, since June.

“It is a contradiction that while millions of children are starving, foodgrains procured by the government are rotting in public godowns. In Belagavi district, there are over six lakh children who have not got mid-day meal. On the other hand, there are 48 tonnes of rice, 9.1 tonnes of wheat and 5.9 tonnes of other grain in government and public warehouses that have not been distributed. This clearly demonstrates that the government does not care for its people,” said Mahantesh Bilur, district convenor of AIDSO.

Women and Child Welfare Society founder Anjali G. feels that the lockdown was completely unnecessary and had only added to the problems of the poor. India has slipped many places down the global hunger index, lower than several Asian countries. One of the reasons is the unscientific manner in which the lockdown and other COVID-19-related issues were handled.

She said that the lockdown had taken away jobs and livelihoods of many families who were now finding it hard to feed their children. If the government starts the mid-day meal programme, at least such families will get help to a large extent, she said.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2020 11:41:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/re-start-meal-scheme-in-schools/article32933600.ece

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