Midday meal scheme:Kerala government allocates 50 per cent funds to school
The government of Kerala informed the High Court of Kerala has decided to allocate 50% of the school midday meal project funds to high schools in Kerala's district. The government has allocated a total of Rs. 81.73 crore for this initiative.
Thiruvananthapuram: In a significant move, the government of Kerala informed the High Court of Kerala has decided to allocate 50% of the school midday meal project funds to high schools in Kerala's district. The government has allocated a total of Rs. 81.73 crore for this initiative.
The teachers' union had demanded that all the arrears be given. The state government has assured the court that it will disburse the entire amount within two weeks. The next hearing will be conducted on September 30.
The High Court had sought a response from the state government on the issue of mid-day meal scheme arrears in schools. The High Court also asked the government to inform the head teachers that they will pay the outstanding amount. The court action is based on the petition filed by the teachers' union requesting to intervene in the matter. The explanation given by the government was that non-availability of central funds was the reason for the delay in dues.
The state government had presented its arguments and clashed with the Central Ministry of Education regarding the controversy surrounding the school midday meal programme in Kerala.
The Central Board of Education rejected the arguments of the Kerala government in the school lunch scheme controversy. The Ministry of Education explained that as part of the PM Potion scheme, the central share of Rs 132.9 crore was transferred to the state and the state share including Rs 76.78 crore was supposed to be transferred to the state nodal account, but this did not happen.
Earlier, Education Minister V Sivankutty on Saturday (Sep. 9) attributed the financial difficulties schools were having paying for the state's midday food programme to the Centre. He claimed that the central government had delayed payment by making false justifications.
Sivankutty claimed in a Facebook post that the Union government frequently uses erroneous justifications to delay or withhold payments to states even after receiving all required documentation, including financial records in the case of the mid-day meal programme.
"The Union Government's failure is the reason for crisis in the distribution of funds related to the mid-day meal scheme. The midday meal scheme is implemented as a central programme. According to the rules, the central government has to provide the states with food grains (rice) and 60 per cent of the operational cost. However, there have been delays in allocating the centre's shares to the states from FY 2021-22, when PFMS (Public Financial Management System) became a part of the scheme."
"As per our understanding, the centre had set aside more than Rs 10,000 crore as its share for the projects in the states and union territories in the current fiscal year. Even though the fiscal year is half through, the central government has yet to release the first installment of the central share (60 percent of the amount) to the states and union territories. So far, only Madhya Pradesh (Rs 156.58 crore) has received funds," his Facebook post read.