Zero tolerance for substandard midday meals
The Central Advisory Board on Education, the highest decision-making body of the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry, has asserted a “zero tolerance policy” on providing sub-standard food in the midday meal scheme.
It has asked the HRD ministry to crack the whip on defaulters. The tough stance comes two months after the mid-day meal tragedy in Bihar which claimed the lives of several children after they consumed contaminated food in a school at Chapra.
Minister of State for Human Resources Development Jitin Prasada on Thursday presided over a meeting of the apex decision-making body on education as it discussed issues like status of right to education and mid-day meals. The meeting was skipped by HRD minister M M Pallam Raju, who recently resigned to protest the creation of Telangana.Representatives of some of the states, including Bihar Education Minister P K Shahi, demanded that Centre should enhance the allocation of funds under the meal scheme.
The HRD Ministry, however, rejected the demand, saying the funds being allocated were adequate enough to provide food with the proper stipulated calories under the scheme.
Some of the state representatives suggested that there should a uniform policy on school teachers’ appointment and their salaries.
The HRD Ministry, however, refused to accept the suggestions, saying appointment of school teachers and their salaries did not come under the domain of the Centre. “This will go against the federal structure of the country,” Prasada told reporters.†