Punjab education minister Dr Daljit Singh Cheema on Sunday accused the Centre of delaying the release of funds for winter uniform for school children in the state.
While taking to HT on the sidelines of National Women Sports Festival in Patiala, Cheema said the central government has sanctioned just 25% share (Rs 100 per child) of the funds under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) for winter uniform so far.
“We are yet to receive the remaining amount of Rs 300 per student,” said Cheema.
The minister said Rs 400 per student was a sufficient amount to buy a quality winter uniform, including a pair of shoes, woollen sweater, a shirt, a pair of trousers and a cap for boys and a set of salwar, kameez and dupatta for girls.
“As soon as we receive the pending amount from the Centre, it would be transferred to schools,” said Cheema, adding that the government has directed the contractors to start stitching the uniform. “We want students to receive uniform at the earliest and the money will be paid to contractors later,” he added.
What the scheme says
The state government has changed the school timings from October, but it has failed to provide the winter uniform so far As per the scheme under the SSA, Rs 400 is given to every government school student in September-end to buy winter uniform.
But to date, no school in the state has received the funds for the uniform and the students are being told to wear old uniform. In some cases, parents have to shell out money to purchase winter uniform for their wards.
Students belonging to economically weaker families are the worst hit. A visit to some government schools in Patiala revealed that some students were attending classes in summer uniform.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supporters on Sunday flayed the state government for not providing adequate funds for purchase of uniform. “We will hold a protest on January 1 if the state government fails to release funds for winter uniform,” they added.