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Kerala HC demands govt report on mid-day meal scheme

Legally SpeakingKerala HC demands govt report on mid-day meal scheme

NEW DELHI: The Kerala High Court has recently directed both the State and Central governments to provide details on the steps taken to implement the Pradhan Mantri Poshan Shakti Nirman (mid-day meal scheme) in government-aided schools. A single bench of Justice Ziyad Rahman AA was hearing a petition filed last year, which alleged that school principals were compelled to pay out of pocket to cover the expenses of the noon-meal scheme due to inadequate fund allocation. The judge was informed that the State government has now allocated Rs 232 crores to cover the costs of providing supplementary nutrition as part of the mid-day meal scheme for the year 2024-2025.

The State’s government pleader stated that he would obtain instructions on how this amount is proposed to be distributed to schools and the timeline for disbursing these funds. Justice Rahman recorded the State’s submission but noted that there is no record showing concrete steps taken to implement the mid-day meal scheme. Consequently, the Court has now sought the Central and State governments to file a statement regarding this matter. “The learned DSGI, as well as the learned Government Pleader, are directed to get instructions on the steps they have already taken in compliance with the guidelines for providing noon meals under the Pradhan Mantri Poshan Shakti Nirman,” the judge stated. It also noted that the Central government’s Mid-day Meal Rules envisaged a system of committees at five levels to oversee the scheme’s implementation. It observed that the role of headmasters and teachers is limited to overseeing the execution of the scheme, with the Central and State governments jointly responsible for funding it. The petition was filed by the Kerala Pradesh School Teachers’ Association (KPSTA) and headmasters of certain government and aided schools.

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