In what could turn out to be yet another embarrassing situation, the school education department has failed to implement the centrally sponsored scheme- Mid-Day Meal (MDM) despite the scheme being launched a decade ago in the state.
The government had to cut a sorry figure in the last Project Approval Board (PAB) meeting convened by Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) on March 10 in New Delhi.
The representatives from J&K’s school education department were pulled up by the union ministry over the poor implementation of the scheme in the state.
The MHRD reportedly has pulled up the J&K’s school education department for its failure to constitute separate Directorate for Mid-Day Meal (MDM) scheme for the past more than one decade.
The issue was raised during the PAB meeting, convened to review the status and progress of the implementation of MDM in J&K.
The meeting was chaired by Director, Department of School Education and Literacy (DSE&L), G Vijaya Bhaskar to consider the Annual Work Plan and Budget 2017-18 proposals for MDM scheme submitted by the representatives from J&K state.
As per the minutes of the meeting released by the MHRD, the union ministry has raised concern over the issue of non-availability of separate MDM Directorate with dedicated officials in the State since 2005-06 year when the scheme was launched in the state.
Besides, the union ministry has also slammed the representatives from J&K’s school education department over its delay in release of funds by two to three months from state administration to the respective schools.
However, the then Principal Secretary School Education department, who was heading the team from J&K in PAB meeting, has blamed the State Finance department for the delay in release of funds to schools.
“Principal Secretary informed that it is due to delay in release of funds by the State Finance Department which results in delayed release of funds to schools. It was noted that that MHRD will write to the Chief Secretary of J&K to ensure smooth fund flow in the State for MDM scheme,” read the minutes of the meeting.
The union ministry has also expressed concern over the poor performance of the JK’s school education department to provide MDM to the students enrolled in government schools.
However, the Principal Secretary School education department has attributed the poor performance of the department to the 2016 Kashmir unrest saying that the “environment was not conducive to run the schools in the State.”
“The State could achieve only 137 working days against the PAB approval of 191 working days in the first three quarters of 2016-17,” read the PAB minutes quoting the then Principal Secretary School education department.
The state’s school education department had to cut a sorry figure over its failure to introduce Automated Monitoring System (AMS) for the scheme.
Joint Secretary Elementary Education and Director School Education and Literacy (DSE&L) have raised concern over the issue of non-operationalisation of the AMS in the State.
However, the representatives from J&K’s school education department have cited that most of the schools and offices were closed in Kashmir region during 2016-17 due to local disturbances.
“The state representatives said department would implement the SMS based AMS through HP-NIC Model before April 2017,” read the minutes of the meeting.