Skip to main content

Amend food security Act, ensure midday meal to poor kids in private schools: Plea to Modi

By Our Representative

A senior Ahmedabad-based environmentalist, Mahesh Pandya, has pleaded before the Government of India to amend Section 5(1) (b) of the Food Security Act, 2013 in order to enable poor students admitted to unaided private schools to get midday meal, compulsory for primary school children under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009.
In a letter addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with a copy to Niti Aayog vice chairperson Dr Rajiv Kumar, Pandya, who heads Paryavaran Mitra, said, as of today, the Food Security Act ensures only poor child attending either government or government-aided schools mid-day meal.
Paryavaran Mitra enjoys observer organization status to the The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and Pandya personally enjoys special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.
The Food Security Act, 2013 section 5 (1) (b) states, “In the case of children, up to class VIII or within the age group of six to 14 years, whichever is applicable, one mid-day meal, free of charge, everyday, except on school holidays, in all schools run by local bodies, Government and Government aided schools, so as to meet the nutritional standards specified in Schedule II.”
Regretting that this provision fails to address the need of poor children who are admitted to unaided private schools under the RTE Act, under which 25% of the seats are reserved for them, Pandya said, “There is no provision as of now to fulfil the nutritional requirement of a child belonging to economically weaker section admitted under the RTE Act in unaided private schools.”
This forces these children “to arrange for themselves the food requirement during the school hours”, he said, adding, “These children lack funds and adequate facility to bring good nutritional food to school. They either manage to feed themselves through sub-standard packaged food or even go empty stomach during school hours.”
Claiming that this contributes to their malnutrition and failure to get macro-nutrients such as proteins and micro-nutrients such as vitamins and minerals, Pandya said, this unavailability of food in private schools is also a hindrance in India’s fight against malnutrition among children.
Further pointing out that this creates “social inequality among kids and this inequality creates social complexity in students admitted under RTE Act”, Pandya said, this in turn leads to mental stress, adding, if this is issue not addressed, “We may see such students dropping out of such schools due to hunger, malnourishment and social embarrassment.”

Comments

TRENDING

Communal rhetoric? Hindutva preached by RSS-BJP is 'monolithic', not Hinduism

By Prem Verma*  I am a devout Hindu but not a believer of RSS Hindutva form of Hinduism which brings about hatred of other religions. My Hindu religion has not taught me to look down on other religions and neither has it instilled in me to go about converting others to my religion because my religion is superior.

Gross 'injustice' to children: Rs 5000 cr cut in education budget; 15 lakh schools shut down

Counterview Desk  More than 100 dignitaries, including educationists, academia, social activists, teachers’ union, civil society organisations (CSOs), various networks and people working on child rights, in a letter to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman have sought reversal of reduction in allocation for education in the Union Budget 2021-22, even as demanding substantial increase in it.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

India sees 62 journo deaths, 4th highest, amidst pandemic: Swiss media rights body

By Our Representative The Switzerland-based media rights body Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) has noted that India is the fourth most affected country as far as mediapersons’ death on account of Covid-19 is concerned. According to Blaise Lempen, secretary-general of PEC, the global tally of casualties among media persons in the Covid-19 pandemic has reached 1,036 journalists in 73 countries till date.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

RSS love for 'killer' Myanmar junta behind Indian military presence at Tatmadaw Day?

By Shamsul Islam*  If a shameful act means an action which is criminal and nauseating, it would be an understatement to describe the attitude of the present RSS-BJP rulers of India towards the demolition of democracy and large-scale killing of the people of Myanmar by the military ( tatmadaw ) junta which took power through a coup on February 1, 2021 after renegading the election results in which the party of Aung San Suu Kyi, National League for Democracy, was a clear winner.

Chhattisgarh’s Apra riverfront imitates Sabarmati: 'Devaluing' water, environment

Sabarmati riverfront By Mansee Bal Bhargava*  This year’s #WorldWaterDay (March 22) focus was on ‘Valuing Water’. My school friend, Pragati Tiwari from Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, called that day knowing my interest in water matters. We were remembering our childhood days as how we used to play on the banks and the bed of the Arpa Nadi (River) during the summer holidays and as how the river would swell like Anaconda to flow happily during the monsoon.

Bihar massacre on Holi day: Brahminical, casteist mindset behind 'uneasy' silence

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Several people were killed in Bihar amidst Holi festivities, but not much response has come in from the media. The silence of the government and the society as a whole is also appalling. We seek to romanticise these festivals, yet we forget that every year they take so many lives. This despite the fact that Holi appears to be the best time for 'avenging things'.

India's draft migrants policy: Whither concern on job restrictions imposed by states?

By Anil Kumar*  India’s Niti Aayog has prepared a Draft Migration Policy. The draft policy acknowledges migration as an integral part of development, and it calls for positive government interventions that facilitate internal migration. With a rights-based solution to migration, the draft states that the policy should “enhance the agency and capability of the community and thereby remove aspects that come in the way of an individual’s own natural ability to thrive”.

Gujarat religious freedom amendment bill 'pursues' votebank politics, is anti-minority

Gujarat home minister Pradeepsinh Jadeja  By Our Representative  A Gujarat-based minority rights organisation, taking strong exception to the state assembly last week passing the Gujarat Religious Freedom (Amendment) Bill, 2021, has asserted that the proposed law “is completely unconstitutional”, even as asking the Gujarat governor to give his accent to it.