Thursday, April 22, 2004

Mid day meal for drought hit states during vacations

RAKESH BHATNAGAR

NEW DELHI: Anguished at the poor response shown by the state governments and other authorities in providing free cooked mid day meal to the school children across the country, the Supreme Court has asked the drought hit states to feed the school children with nutritious meals even during the summer vacations.

Giving a stern warning to the authorities concern, the Court said its mid day meals scheme must be effectively implemented by September 1, 2004 , otherwise the chief secretaries would be held responsible for the lapse.

A Bench of Justices Y K Sabharwal and B N Agrawal also asked the Centre to double the quantum of food grains disbursed under the 'Sampoorna Gramin Rojgar Yojana' (SGRY). The Bench said preference should be given to people from Dalit and Backward communities for employment under the scheme.

Petitioner People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL)'s counsel Colin Gonsalves and Aparna Bhat had highlighted the failure of various state government in implementing the mid-day meal scheme.

The court, which expanded the scope of the PIL to cover all the states, had been issuing directions to the state governments for better implementation of the scheme.

Mid-day meal scheme, fully sponsored by the Centre, is aimed at improving both literacy and nutritional standards of the children belonging to the economically weak segments of the society.

Source: April 22, 2004

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