Additional enrollment of students in government schools in Delhi is viewed to be acting as an indicator of economic stress. Based on the maximum number of attendance during pre-covid times, the Programme Approval Board (PAB) decides the work plan and budget for the midday meal scheme annually which approximately budgets 6.45 lakh children in primary classes (I-V) and 6.39 lakh at the upper primary (VI-VIII) level in Delhi.
A huge outbreak of students in school at the time of the second pandemic year (2021-22), with an estimation of 4.88 lakh children — adding up to 27 percent of the total enrolment results to be left out from the midday meal due to the lack of foodgrains”, according to a Union government document.
The minutes of the PAB meeting held on May 9, state that “GNCT (Government of the National Capital Territory) of Delhi against the PAB-PM POSHAN approval of additional coverage of 5,23,572 children reported due to exceeding in enrolment failed in covering up all enrolled children. On the 3rd of June, the minutes were issued. The meeting was attended by Union School Education Secretary Anita Karwal and the Delhi government’s Director, Education, Himanshu Gupta and among others.
“PAB raised concern over the issue of late submission of facts to the ministry mentioning that GNCT of Delhi should have submitted the proposal for approval of an additional number of children after 2nd quarters of FY 2021-22. That might be helpful in covering all children against enrolment during the closure of schools under the pandemic situation.
Eventually, the coverage on an average basis would have been possible, with 7.44 lakh children in primary classes and 5.75 lakh children in upper primary classes indicating about 4.88 lakh children left out of the scheme.
The midday meal or PM-POSHAN scheme carries hot cooked meals that are served to address the nutritional needs of children covering government-aided school students of classes I-VIII, as well as pre-primary classes. In the due course of the pandemic closure of the school period, food security allowances continue through the distribution of dry ration kits.
While getting into contact with the Delhi government spokesperson, stated that for each quarter we lifted allocated foodgrains distribution but due to sudden uncertainty of school reopening, the actual estimate of additional requirements could be made in the last quarter, the same confirmation was conveyed to the central government. But the release of additional foodgrains hasn’t been to them.
The primary level education is handled by the municipal corporation as well as the Delhi government under the tree of the national capital, they also began schools with classes from I to XII. The PAB meeting did not hold officials from the MCD.
Report other shortcomings in the implementation of the scheme in the city, the PAB started keeping records that “there is no dedicated structure in GNCT of Delhi for smooth implementation of PM POSHAN.”
Under the scheme of PM POSHAN, every individual student was allotted a daily allowance of Rs 4.97 for primary classes and Rs 7.45 for upper primary classes during the 40-day period until schools were shut for the summer holidays. According to the PAB, the Delhi authorities haven’t made this beneficiary amount transferable.
The allowance which is supposed to be transferred to students through DBT was received by the Delhi government from the Central government as late as mid-March. So it is expectedly impossible to disburse the same in the next 15 days. Our request to revalidate the disbursement is pending with the Central government for the current financial year. We will only be able to disburse the same as soon as we receive their approval – versed from the Delhi government spokesperson.
As spoken in the minutes of the meeting PAB only covers 16 percent of schools in Delhi that are linked with the PM-POSHAN MIS portal capturing critical indicators such as the number of meals served and the number of folic acid tablets distributed. Despite making several requests, GNCT of Delhi has not registered all 3,055 schools on the MIS web portal, nor have they (submitted) annual and monthly data entries from the last three to four years’ records. A huge discrepancy in entries for both quarterly progress reports and the MIS portal in the Annual Work Plan and Budget 2022-23 has been reported.
There are no health checkups of children were conducted neither iron and folic acid and deworming tablets were distributed – said the PAB.