Will urge Centre for funds to raise honorarium of mid-day meal workers: Punjab school edu minister
School education minister Vijay Inder Singla on Wednesday said that the state government will request the Central government for additional funds to enhance to honorarium of cooks-cum-helpers to ₹3,000 per month under the Mid-Day Meal Scheme.
Responding to BJP MLA Arun Narang’s question regarding the action being taken by the state government to enhance the monthly honorarium of mid-day meal workers to ₹3,000 from ₹1,700 in the state, the minister said that since MDM was a centrally sponsored scheme, the state government would take it up with the central government.
“The scheme is jointly funded by the central and state government on 60:40 sharing basis. However, the Centre contributes on ₹600 and the state government is giving more than its agreed share,” he said, pointing out that the honorarium was increased by ₹500 per month by the present government in 2017. When Narang reminded the minister of the Congress’ poll promise to hike to increase their honorarium to ₹3000 per month, Singla said the department would also take up the matter with the finance department.
Punjab’s ODF status questioned
AAP MLA Aman Kumar Arora questioned the open defecation free (ODF) status of districts, blocks and villages in the state. The member, who asked the government about the procedure adopted for declaration of ODF and the funds spent on construction of toilets between 2017-18 and 2020-21, said there were several villages across the state where people were still defecating in the open and no toilets had constructed.
In response to his question, water supply and sanitation minister Razia Sultana said that all districts, blocks and villages were open defecation free and ₹415.72 crore were spent from 2017-18 to 2020-21 on building toilets. The MLA urged the speaker to set up a committee to visit to check if toilets had been built in all villages and people were still defecating in the open. However, the speaker refused his request, saying that a committee cannot be set up during the question hour.