Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy CM Manish Sisodia Tuesday flagged off a new initiative to distribute dry ration kits under the mid-day meal scheme to 8 lakh students from Delhi government schools, which shall continue till schools remain closed. The scheme was flagged off at SKV No. 3 at Mandawali, and kits were distributed to parents of 52 students as a start.
“The last nine months have been hard and we don’t see it improving in the near future.The worst affected have been school children. Health and nutrition of many children were compromised as, due to the lockdown, a poor man found it hard to earn,” said Kejriwal to teachers and parents gathered at the school. Said Sisodia, “Due to the lockdown, the damage done to education can perhaps not be compensated later. We wish for schools to open; hopefully things will improve once the vaccine comes. Many daily wage earners could not earn, and this negatively impacted their children as well. We thought of wiring six-months’ worth of mid-day meal scheme money to parents’ accounts, but decided that giving ration of the same amount would be better.”
The dry ration kit comprised 10.425 kg of wheat and rice each, 7.713 kg of pulses and 2 litres of oil. The Akshaya Patra non-profit organisation also distributed an additional kit comprising stationery, soap, sanitary napkins, biscuits and other items. The kits cost the government Rs 4.09 per day for a primary students and Rs 6.14 per day for an upper primary student, as per DoE. Neeru Kanchan from the DoE, who is in-charge of the mid-day meal scheme, told The Indian Express, “In normal times, the government is billed Rs 4.48 per primary student (class I-V) per day, and Rs 6.71 per upper primary student (class VI-XII) per day.”
Anju (35), a single mother from Madhu Vihar whose daughter Sakshi (12) is in Class IV, was one of the first recipients of the ration kits.
“When my husband, a mechanic, died in May, finding money to run the household was hard, although my parents did help,” she said. Though she has taken a course in cosmetics so she can find a job at a beauty parlour, she said she continues to struggle to find employment: “I am trying to find any job, I will do anything. But there are just no jobs.”
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