Resource centre on India's rural distress
 
 

Bihar: After NHRC, HC prod, work begins to bring meals to kids -Dipankar Ghose

-The Indian Express

The order came even as the Patna High Court and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) took suo motu cognisance of The Indian Express report.

Bhagalpur: IN THE STAFF room of the Primary School in Shahabad, Principal Devendra Kumar Singh and teacher Juhi Kumari squinted into the smartphone to read the latest state government order on mid-day meals. Parents of at least three children from Badbilla who study in the school were waiting outside for details with news in the air that students will be provided ration in lieu of mid-day meals.

“We have been instructed to make a roster, and do things systematically. So, it will take a few days. Parents will be called to the school; your children will not have to come. The money will be sent straight to children’s accounts, while you will get the rice from here,” Principal Singh told the parents.

On Monday, The Indian Express had reported how children of the Musahari tola in Badbilla village were pushed to rag-picking, leaving them starved after schools — which served them mid-day meals — had to shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic. More than 115 lakh children in the state avail of the mid-day meal scheme.

Hours after the report, the Bihar government issued a statewide order stipulating that ration as well as money through Direct Benefit Transfer be provided to school children for 80 working days from May to July.

The order came even as the Patna High Court and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) took suo motu cognisance of The Indian Express report.

Reproducing the report in its order, a bench led by Chief Justice Sanjay Karol said the “news article highlights an issue of public importance and relevance. It concerns the welfare of children hailing from the lower most strata of society, the marginalised, the downtrodden…the disruption and closure of schools across the state will have a negative impact not just on the children’s right to education but also in specific cases, their right to adequate food.”

Please click here to read more.