CM Chang seeks 100% central fund for Mid-Day Meal scheme
Kohima, November 17
Noting that the North Eastern states are finding difficulties to provide the 10 percent state share in the Mid-Day Meal (MDM) scheme, Minister for School Education CM Chang has requested the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) to come to the rescue of the NE states and give 100 percent sponsorship for successful implementation of the scheme in the region.
Speaking during the concluding function of the two-day regional workshop/orientation meeting on MDM Scheme 2013 organised by MHRD and hosted by Nagaland School Education department in Kohima Saturday evening, Chang said the North Eastern states, except Assam, cannot be compared with other states of the country because NE is a resource crunch region.
Expressing gratitude for giving special consideration to the region and implementing the scheme on 90:10 basis (with 10 percent as the state share), he, however, said the NE states, specially Nagaland, is finding it difficult to even provide the 10 percent state’s share.
Therefore, he said the Central government should give 100 percent sponsorship of MDM scheme for the NE states, saying ‘we depend on the Centre for everything’.
He also requested the MHRD to enhance the honorariums for the cooks and helpers in the MDM scheme while also appealing that the NE states should be provided fund for smokeless kitchens so as to avoid health hazards.
Further lamenting that the NE states are weak in submitting utilization certificates of the funds provided by the Centre, he called upon the sister states of the region to be prompt so that the flow of funds is not stopped.
The minister also expressed hope that the agendas discussed during the two-day meeting would help bring changes towards successful implementation of MDM scheme in the region.
Presenting the wrap-up of the workshop, MDM Director under Union MHRD, Gaya Prasad said the review meet would be very helpful for the MHRD.
Maintaining that an estimated Rs 1300 crore has been earmarked for implementation of MDM scheme in the North East region, he, however, regretted that MHRD is not getting proposals from the NE states while the utilization of funds made under MDM is also very poor in the region.
He said there is no dearth of fund for implementation of the MDM scheme, but the problem is that the states do not send the proposals on time.
He also said after the successful implementation of Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the MHRD has decided to launch it in the NE states in the next financial year to monitor proper implementation of the scheme. He disclosed that proposals have already been put for enhancement of the honorariums for cooks and helpers of MDM. Based on the MDM price index, the cooking cost of MDM would also be enhanced, he informed.
In his closing remark, Commissioner & Secretary, Government of Nagaland, T. Imkonglemba Ao suggested that MHRD make provisions for LPG and also send letter to the state government saying that the funds are not released by the ministry due to non-release of the state’s share.