New Delhi : The government Monday admitted that 4,620 children had fallen ill after eating mid-day-meals in the last few years, contrary to the claims that children were getting hot and hygienic food under the scheme.
Among the states, Andhra Pradesh has suffered the most where 1,839 students of primary level had fallen ill followed by Karnataka (1241 students had fallen ill), Minister of State for Human Resource Development M.A.A. Fatmi informed the Rajya Sabha.
Besides the above two states, 612 students in Uttar Pradesh, 208 in Maharashtra, 267 in Rajasthan, 145 in West Bengal, 77 in Tamil Nadu and 85 in Orissa have fallen ill after taking mid-day meals.
The national capital too has reported four such students falling ill due to the school food. Bihar and the Andamans have reported one case each of this nature.
The government aims at providing cooked food to students in the primary level to retain and attract students, thus reducing the dropout rate. The other aim is to provide thousands of needy students required calories in school so that their growth does not get hampered.
“As and when any complaint was brought to the notice of the government, the concerned state government and union territories administration was asked to conduct suitable enquiry and to take appropriate action against the responsible person(s) and initiate corrective measures to avoid recurrence of such incidents in future,” Fatmi said.
The minister, however, did not mention what kind of action had been taken against the culprits or what type of illnesses these students suffered from due to the bad quality food intake.
The HRD ministry too informed the upper house that India has entered into an agreement with the World Bank for assistance worth Rs.24 billion for the period 2007-10 as partial funding towards unversalisation of education known as the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) programme.