Karnataka: Demand to resume midday meal grows | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: With schools being allowed 100% attendance for on-campus classes for grades 6 to 12 from Friday, the demand to resume serving midday meals in government and state-aided schools has become vociferous.
The government stopped serving midday meals in March 2020 after schools were ordered shut as a precautionary measure against the Covid-19 pandemic. Instead of a hot meal, the government began providing food grains and pulses to students to make up for the loss of the meal. However, supply has been erratic.
Now, since all activities are returning to normal and the pandemic appears to be receding, parents are demanding that the government resume serving the meal in schools.
However, BC Nagesh, primary and secondary education minister, said a decision will be taken only when schools reopen for classes 1 to 5 as well. “The department is aware of the demand to resume midday meals in schools,” he said when contacted on Friday.
With incomes taking a hit due to the pandemic and prices of food grains going through the roof, parents from economically weaker sections are hoping the scheme will reduce their financial burden — at least a little.
“It is the right time for the government to start serving meals in schools. The government should at least resume the scheme when schools reopen after Dasara holidays,” said Basavaraj, a daily-wage worker from Kalaburagi district.
S Suresh Kumar, former primary and secondary education minister, met chief minister Basavaraj Bommai on Friday to urge him to resume the scheme. “It will help lakhs of students from economically weaker sections. The CM has responded positively to my request,” Kumar said. The Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights has also pushed for resumption of the scheme.
In July, the government decided to provide cooking costs of midday meals to students via direct benefit transfers. The DPI commissioner has even issued a circular to facilitate students to open bank or post office accounts, but the scheme failed to take off.

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Sagar Biswas

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