The Parliamentary Standing Committee of the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry has issued a notice to Delhi government on reported irregularities in implementation of the mid-day meal scheme.
The standing committee headed by Congress Rajya Sabha MP Janardhan Diwedi issued the notice to Delhi after Hindustan Times reported on June 11 that the city government has claimed up to 35 per cent wastage in foodgrains supplied to it by the Food Corporation of India.
Officials said the committee has sought an explanation from the Delhi government on “such huge amount of wastage” claimed in the HRD ministry’s Project Approval Board for the mid-day meal scheme.
The Hindustan Times report had said that of about 3,878 tonnes foodgrains lifted in 2007-08 from the FCI stores for providing midday meal in primary schools, about 11,080 tonnes was claimed as waste resulting in a loss of Rs 263 crore to the government exchequer. This information was gathered on the basis of an RTI application.
Delhi government, in an e-mail response to the HRD ministry, explained that due to wastage in foodgrains, dust, foreign particles, transportation loss, the net quantity available was only 65 grams even though 100 grams was being issued to the contractors. However, Delhi Education Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely expressed ignorance about it whereas Delhi’s Mayor Aarti Mehra had accused the Delhi government of “politicising the issue”.
The Parliamentary standing committee, which is reviewing implementation of the midday meal scheme, is conducting special review of the scheme in Delhi because of reported irregularities.
Delhi government has been asked to submit all documents and present its case before the committee in its next meeting, a ministry official said. Apart from high wastage, Hindustan Times has pointed out a large number of discrepancies in implementation of the scheme in Delhi.