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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

Punjab's 1.18 lakh school children await new uniforms

Jatinder Kohli, Hindustan Times  Jalandhar, September 26, 2013
First Published: 19:56 IST(26/9/2013) | Last Updated: 11:48 IST(27/9/2013)

Five months after the new academic session started in the state, students of Classes 1 to 8 in government schools have not received uniforms, and are being forced to wear last year's kits, as the education department has not received any financial aid from the central government under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) to purchase uniforms till date. 

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In Jalandhar district, nearly 1.18 lakh schoolchildren from 1,411 schools are still waiting to get the uniform. A school principal said that even as the academic session started on April 1, students were attending school wearing clothes given by the government in 2012-2013.

Requesting anonymity, an official of the education department said that the district education department had kept a budget of `4.73 crore for purchasing uniforms, adding, “The central government sends us only `400 per student, which is not enough for provision of a complete set. We had demanded `1,000 per student for purchasing uniforms under the financial plan for the current academic session, but nothing has been done so far. It seems that the same amount of `400 will be sent to schools.”

He added that the education department had asked district heads to demand quotations from establishments for the uniforms, and to complete all formalities before delivering the uniforms to the children.

District education officer (secondary) Neelam Kumari said, “We have received no funds for school uniforms from the central government.”

However, district education officer (elementary) Kuldeep Sharma seemed to be unaware of the non-disbursement of funds from the central government, and asked this reporter to contact Ashok Grover, coordinator of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, for further clarification.

SSA coordinator Ashok Grover said, “We have not received a single rupee for buying uniforms, but as soon as the central government sends funds to the department, uniforms will be distributed among the students.”

Details
A complete uniform set comprises trousers/skirt, shirt, belt, tie, shoes, socks and other items
Total number of students in Classes 1 to 8: 1,18,355
Total number of schools: 1,411
Budget: `4.73 crore

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