Mid-day meal: Insufficient funds, delayed payments burden Kerala schools

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Thiruvananthapuram: Mid-day meal scheme (from pre-primary to class 8 students) has been burdening schools in Kerala. Insufficient funds and delayed payments from the government are the major reasons.

The schools have only partially received dues for November. Similarly, funds for months from December are pending.

The state government and central government are contributing to the fund in a 60:40 ratio. The state government maintains that the delayed release of funds from Centre is the main cause for the crisis. The education department says that the Centre only gave Rs 167.38 crore out of the allotted Rs 292.54 crore.

As per the Centre's policy, only food has to be given. However, Kerala included milk and egg. According to various school teachers associations, the finance department has not yet allocated funds to meet the extra burden of milk and egg although the rate revision happened in 2016. The distribution of wages of mid-day cooks and allied staff is also disrupted.

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