9.5 Crore Students Were Provided Food Security Allowance Amid COVID-19 Lockdown: Education Ministry
As the Parliament began the 18-day Monsoon Session from today, September 14, the ministry of education informed Lok Sabha that over 9.5 crore students were provided with Food Security Allowance (FSA) while the nation fought with COVId-19 pandemic. The lockdown had begun in the month of March. Schools were closed and children missing out on mid-day meals was one of the major concerns.
Union Education Minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ said that the state governments have been providing FSA, which includes financial aid, food grains, pulses, oil and other cooking ingredients, in place of the mid-day meals. “It is not possible to provide hot cooked meal under the prevailing circumstances, owing to COVID-19, State Government and UT Administrations are advised to provide Food Security Allowance (FSA) comprising of food grains, pulses, oil etc (equivalent to cooking cost) to all eligible children till such time their schools are closed due to aforesaid pandemic,’ Mr Pokhriyal said.
Food Security Allowance has been provided to a total of 9.5 crore students across the nation. According to the data shared by the ministry, the State Government of Uttar Pradesh has provided FSA to 1.13 crore students. West Bengal and Bihar have disbursed the allowance to 1.12 crore students and Bihar for 1.08 crore students, respectively. Maharashtra aided nearly 8 million students, whereas Madhya Pradesh provided FSA to over 6 million students.
For the State Government of Goa, clearance is awaited from their Finance Department to the proposal for providing Food Security Allowance (FSA) to students. Rajasthan is providing Food Grains only. Telangana is providing food kits of 12 kg rice per person and Rs. 1,500 per family to BPL families.
The Parliament began the 18-day Monsoon Session from today, September 14. The Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha sitting swill be conducted in two shifts for the next 18 days. Entry to the parliament during the session will only be allowed to those having a negative COVID-19 report. Following safety guidelines and wearing masks throughout the session has been made mandatory for all the ministers. In this session, in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic, most parliamentary operations have been digitalised.
Mid-Day Meal is the entitlement of a child, guaranteed under the National Food Security Act.