Days after a video showed kids of a government school in Uttar Pradesh’s Mirzapur district eating chapatis with salt in mid-day meal, the state government booked the journalist who filmed the incident. A case has been filed against Pawan Jaiswal, the journalist by the Uttar Pradesh government for hatching 'conspiracy' to defame the state government. Along with Jaiswal, two others have been alleged of ‘botching’ the story and putting up ‘wrong facts’.
The video showed students at primary government school in Mirzapur being served plain chapatis and salt under midday meal scheme. The food was served under the flagship programme. Though the website of the Uttar Pradesh mid-day meal authority shows pulses rice, rotis and vegetables as part of the menu, the ground reality appears from the claims.
The Bahujan Samaj Party has slammed the Yogi Adityanath government for providing chapatis with salt. State government is “taking action against all those people who are raising questions against their failures”, ANI quoted party’s spokesperson Sudhindra Bhadoria.
After the photos went viral on social media, the authorities sprang into action. Reacting to the development, District Magistrate Anurag Patel said, "negligence happened at teacher and supervisor's level. The teacher has been suspended. A response has been sought from supervisor."
According to the official website of the Midday Meal Scheme, more than 25.25 lakhs cook-cum-helper are engaged by the State/UTs during 2016-17. The scheme is the world’s largest school meal programme and reaches an estimated 12 crore children across 12 lakh schools in India.
In 2002, the Supreme Court directed the government to provide cooked midday meals (as opposed to providing dry rations) in all government and government aided primary schools. Calorie norms for the meals have been regularly revised starting from 300 calories in 2004, when the scheme was relaunched as the Midday Meal Scheme. Currently, the scheme provides children in government aided schools and education centres a cooked meal for a minimum of 200 days.