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J&K Govt provides food to 8.32 lakh students during Covid-19 pandemic

Last Updated on September 24, 2020 at 3:33 pm

It was the tireless effort of officials of the Directorate of Mid-Day Meal Scheme (School Education Department) that more than 8.32 lakh students across Jammu and Kashmir were able to get dry rations at their doorsteps as the schools were closed due to Covid-19 pandemic.

The department has so far run a three phased scheme and during the first two phases 9958 tonnes of dry ration was delivered at the doorsteps to 832095 students of government schools of the Union Territory.

Mission Director Mid-Day Meal scheme, Dr Arun Manhas is the officer who arranged resources for distribution of dry ration at the homes of 8.32 lakh students in J&K. The entire process was conducted under the supervision of Dr. Asgar Samoon, Principal Secretary, School Education.

While the phase one and two of the scheme are complete, the department started the third phase of the scheme on August 1 for distribution of rice among the students in the UT.

Besides, a sum of Rs.14.48 crore has also been transferred into the account of students and parents as cooking cost.

With the beginning of financial year 2020-21 all schools were closed due to outbreak of Coronavirus. Supreme Court of India had Suo Motto directed the government to make provisions for distribution of Mid Day Meal at the door steps of students during the closure of Schools due to Covid-19. 

Dr Asgar Samoon held a meeting in which representative from different departments including Divisional Commissioner of Jammu/Kashmir, District Development Commissioners, Mission Director Mid Day Meal, Directors of School Education, Jammu/ Kashmir and Chief Education Officers were present and discussion was held to chalk out the technicalities for distribution of dry ration to the eligible children because of closure of schools due to Coronavirus” said Arun Manhas.

Subsequently a meeting was called by Chief Secretary J&K, in which it was decided that one month advance dry ration (Rice) would be provided to the eligible children through Department of Food Civil supplies and Consumer affairs; Moreover instructions from MHRD were also received in which it was left to the State/UTs to decide whether they would provide cooked meal or dry ration to the eligible children.

Directorate of Mid Day Meal, in light of the Supreme Court orders and direction issued by Government of India it was decided to give ration in dry form to each student at their door steps and cooking cost shall be transferred into the bank accounts of eligible students through DBT mode.

Foodgrains were distributed among 8.32 lakh government school children for 60 days. A sum of Rs 4.97 per day per child for primary and Rs 7.45 for upper primary level children for one month was released by Mission Directorate Mid Day Meal, J&K.

With a view to enhance enrollment, retention and attendance and simultaneously improving nutritional levels among children, the flag ship scheme of Mid Day Meal in schools was started in J&K in 2004. Separate Directorate for Mid Day Meal Scheme has been established during the year 2018 by the then Government of J&K.