The union human resource development ministry on Tuesday sought a report from the Madhya Pradesh government on discrimination being faced by Dalit children in four districts of the state under the Mid-Day Meal Scheme.
Simultaneously, the Madhya Pradesh government also ordered district magistrates of the four districts to send “ground reports” on the incidents.
A Hindustan Times report titled ‘Apartheid funded by the Indian tax-payer’ broke the story on Tuesday.
The report was based on a joint survey conducted by NGO Jansahas and Unicef in Jhabua, Sheopur, Katni and Ujjain districts.
“Teams have been rushed to the villages reportedly surveyed by the NGO,” said Jhabua Collector Jagdish Sharma. District magistrates of the other three districts have also dispatched teams to the villages mentioned in the report.
Speaking to HT, O.P. Rawat, principal secretary, tribal welfare department, government of Madhya Pradesh, said: “We have collected information at the ground level and are in the process of compiling it.”
In Delhi, the human resource development ministry, which is expected to provide Rs 8,000 crore for the Mid-Day Meal Scheme in 2009-10, termed the incidents as “condemnable” but said these should not be used to brandish the scheme as bad.
The report by Jansahas and Unicef had highlighted how Dalit children were forced to sit at a distance from upper caste students.