No genuine student will be denied midday meal, says Union HRD Minister Prakash Javdekar

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New Delhi | Updated: March 27, 2017 2:37:03 PM

Union HRD Minister Prakash Javdekar on Monday allayed fears that students will be deprived of mid-day meal, saying the Narendra Modi government will provide meals and Aadhaar cards.

Union HRD Minister Prakash Javdekar on Monday allayed fears that students will be deprived of mid-day meal, saying the Narendra Modi government will provide meals and Aadhaar cards. (ANI image)

Union HRD Minister Prakash Javdekar on Monday allayed fears that students will be deprived of mid-day meal, saying the Narendra Modi government will provide meals and Aadhaar cards. “No genuine student will be denied mid-day meal. We will give meals and also Aadhaar cards to students,” the minister said. Javdekar underlined that the use of Aadhaar cards will check “fake registration of students and misuse of funds.” He also said that “preparation for this is in advanced stage.”

Earlier, Union Human Resources Development (HRD) ministry had made it compulsory for all students availing free meals under the mid-day meal scheme to provide proof of Aadhaar cards, or apply for one before June 30. Apart from students, cooks-cum-helpers working at mid-day meal centres as well, need to compulsorily have unique identification. The ministry’s move is in line with the central government’s mandate to link Aadhaar with subsidy schemes. During an inter-ministerial meeting held earlier this year, the Department of School Education and Literacy (DSEL) — under the HRD ministry — had opposed the decision saying it needs more deliberation, reports PTI.

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The government’s move had drawn flaks with the Congress criticising the move saying the decision should not be “forced” on children. The Human Resource Development ministry had announced that cook-cum-helpers working under the midday meal scheme as well as student beneficiaries will now be required to have an Aadhaar card to avail the facility.

“The government should not deprive the children of the benefits of the scheme by making the Aadhaar card mandatory for availing its benefits. We demand that it should not be forced on them,” AICC secretary Bhakta Charan Das had said.

Midday meal scheme (MDMS) is a centrally sponsored scheme to boost the universalisation of primary education by increasing enrolment, retention and attendance in primary and upper primary classes.

Das had claimed that there are some 12 crore children enrolled countrywide under the scheme and that there right to have nutritious food in adequate quantities should not be “taken away”.

As per guidelines, cooked meals are to be provided with 450 and 700 calories and 12 gm and 20 gm protein contents for primary and upper primary schoolchildren, respectively.

(With agency inputs)

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