Punjab flouting SC directives on MDM, not providing ration to 13 lakh students: Bajwa to Amarinder

Chandigarh, July 16, 2020 (Yes Punjab News)

Former PPCC Chief and Rajya Sabha Member Partap Singh Bajwa has written yet another letter to Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.

In his letter, Bajwa has accused the Congress government of not providing ration to 13 lakh students despite Supreme Court directive urging States to continue with the Mid Day Meal Scheme during Covid-19 lockdown to ensure nutritional food to children.

Interestingly, in a recent press conference at Chandigarh, the Chief Minister had told media that he or his government does not require any suggestions by party Rajya Sabha Members Partap Singh Bajwa and Shamsher Singh Dulo.

The Chief Minister had categorically stated that the party MPs should take care of their job in Delhi and let him run the government in the state. He had also made it a point to tell the media that Bajwa’s letters figure only in the media and he has never received any letter from Bajwa.

Bajwa has pointed out that while the food grain was delivered on the doorsteps of the students for 24 days (March 23 to April 15), but after that, no distribution has been done and no instructions have been given to the schools in this regard.

The Congress MP said, “We must not let the lockdown destroy the MDM Scheme that is so vital in ensuring nutritional food for our children. At a time when many parents are grappling with the uncertainties of unemployment or curtailed payment, the MDM Scheme is of utmost importance.

Since its inception in 1995, the MDM Scheme has enhanced our children’s nutritional profile, thus having a positive impact on their health as well as learning outcomes. Nutrition forms the pillar for sustainable growth of the human body and mind,” urging that elaborate measures must be taken to ensure that the meal provided as a part of the MDM Scheme must reach every child during this pandemic.

Bajwa said the MDM Scheme was a major contributor to the improvement in access to education for girls in India. “We have witnessed tremendous improvement in female education over the last seven decades, with female literacy rising from 9% at the time of independence to 65% in 2011. Noted Economists have estimated that mid-day meals increase the likelihood of a girl completing primary school by 30% and reduce the proportion of girls not enrolled by approximately 50%.”

The former PPCC chief said lockdowns have caused complete disruption of the mid-meal scheme. In the absence of this incentive, families may withdraw daughters from schools, leading to higher dropout and lower re-enrollment of girls.

He claimed that many states have already started complying with the order of the Supreme Court to continue with the Midday Meal Scheme. “In Kerala, Anganwadi teachers are delivering packed meals to homes of students daily. West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and J&K are providing students with dry rations. Punjab must resume the MDM Scheme in our schools immediately,:” he said.

Stating that the state must do our very best to fulfill the minimum nutritional requirements of our students, more so at a time when immunity building is necessary to protect us from harmful diseases, Bajwa urged the Government of Punjab to comply with the Supreme Court directive at the earliest and ensure that students in Punjab were not deprived of their food security.

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