Odisha rejects centre’s mid-day meal allowance for schoolkids

Bhubaneswar, Oct 5 (IANS) Odisha government on Monday rejected the centre’s decision to provide an “allowance” to school children instead of amid-day meal.

“It is not acceptable that school children would be given allowance instead of mid-day meal. The decision of the centre would defeat the very purpose of the mid-day meal for reduction of dropout rates in schools. So, the Centre should reconsider its decision,” Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister Sanjay Dasburma said in a statement.

He said the centre on September 30 framed a rule to provide an allowance to school students across the country.

According to the ‘Mid Day Meal Rules 2015’, if the meal is not provided in school on any day due to non-availability of food grains, cooking cost or fuel, absence of cook-cum-helper or any other reason, the state government will have to pay food security allowance by the 15th of the next month.

As the state wing of the BJP slammed Odisha’s Biju Janata Dal government for “trying to hijack” the National Food Security Act, a centrally sponsored scheme, the minister asked the opposition not to politicise the issue.

“The NFSA, slated to be implemented in the state from November 1, came into force in 2013 during the UPA-II. Even though the NDA, before the elections, had promised to have its own food security policy, it failed to do so,” said Dasburma.

A total of 3.26 crore people would benefit from the scheme in Odisha, he said.

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