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Raipur: Chhattisgarh tops in giving mid-day meal to school children during Corona crisis

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More than 90 percent of school children in the state get benefit of dry ration

Even during the Corona crisis, Chhattisgarh has topped the country in the implementation of Mid-Day Meal Scheme. During the lockdown in Chhattisgarh, more than 90 percent children got the benefit of mid-day meal, while the mid-day meal delivery situation in other states was quite poor during this period. According to the report of Oxfam India, 27 million children in the country have been affected by the closure of the school, while mid-day meal is the right of every child under the National Food Security Act 2013. In response to a question in the Lok Sabha last September 14, the Central Government admitted that many children had to be deprived of the benefits of the midday meal scheme. 

    In the survey of Oxfam India, Chhattisgarh has the best performance in the country. In Chhattisgarh, more than 90 percent children have got the benefit of Mid-Day Meal Scheme. Whereas in Uttar Pradesh, 92 percent children were denied midday meal. The survey also mentioned that while the focus was on providing food security allowance in Uttar Pradesh, the focus was on home delivery of ration in Chhattisgarh. During the lockdown, the Supreme Court last March gave instructions to ensure the supply of mid-day meals amidst the closure of schools in the state. In this regard, Chhattisgarh took immediate steps and made arrangements to provide mid-day meals by transporting school children to schools and children’s homes. 

    On March 21, 2020, Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel issued guidelines regarding distribution of dry ration to school children under the Mid-Day Meal Scheme. Its profits were made in every village. The process of distribution of drought rations in other states of the country was started much later. In Chhattisgarh, school children were given dry ration for the first 40 days of lockdown. This was followed by a 45-day dry ration distributed from 16 May to 10 August, for 45 days from 1 May to 15 June. Thus, 130 days of dry ration has been distributed so far. Under this scheme, 29 lakh children in about 43 thousand schools of the state have benefited from the distribution of dry ration under the Mid-Day Meal Scheme. 

    Under Mid-Day Meal Scheme, door-to-door distribution of dry ration was made through the School Education Department. The dry ration packets distributed include rice, oil, soybeans, lentils, salt and pickles. Keeping in view the convenience of school children and parents at the local level by the state government, it was also arranged that if parents cannot go to school to collect the packets, then through the self-help groups and school staff go home from house to house. Home delivery of packets should be done. 

    As a food safety allowance, the children were distributed dal, oil, dry vegetables etc. with the amount of dry rice and cooking cast. According to the guidelines of Mid-Day Meal Scheme, those children from class I to VIII, whose names are registered in government school, grant-in-aid school or madrasa-Maktab, were given mid-day meal.

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