Punjab seeks additional central funds for mid-day meal scheme

The demand for funds is due to the increase in the enrolment of students for the current academic session.

Punjab seeks additional central funds for mid-day meal scheme
Press Trust of India | May 11, 2021 - 8:56 a.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: The Punjab government will raise a demand before the Centre for additional funds under the mid-day meal scheme to feed all students at the government and aided schools in the state which have witnessed enhanced enrolment, Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan said on Monday.

The additional funds were needed after the state's government schools registered a considerable increase in the enrolment of students for the current academic session, she said, after chairing a meeting of the steering-cum-monitoring committee of the mid-day meal scheme here. She took stock of the implementation of the scheme aimed at providing nutritious food to children studying in primary and upper primary classes in the government and government-aided schools in the state, an official statement said.

Mahajan said the Union government had provided funds for benefitting 14.05 lakh students during 2020-21, whereas in 2021-22, the provision has been made for feeding 15.83 lakh students, which was, however, not sufficient. She said the enhanced number of beneficiary students under the mid-day meal scheme was presently assessed at 16.91 lakh in the state, which require additional funds. The remuneration of mid-day meal workers has also been increased, Mahajan informed. She hailed the education department for the efficient implementation of the scheme during the academic session 2020-21 despite extremely difficult situations in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

"Either dry ration or mid-day meal was provided by the department despite schools being closed and about Rs 231 crore was directly transferred to the bank accounts of the school children towards cooking cost," she noted, while stressing the need for further fortification of the meal.

The Secretary, School Education, Krishan Kumar, while apprising the chief secretary of the progress report, said the entire budget of Rs 350 crore allocated under the scheme had been properly utilized. The food grain was served among 15.83 lakh students of primary and upper primary classes studying at the 19,682 government and government-aided schools in the state.

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