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Three months into academic year, NMMC students yet to get uniforms

Sep 21, 2023 12:47 AM IST

Approximately 57,000 students in Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation-run schools have not received their uniforms and other school-related articles due to delays in the payment system and government inspection reports. The civic body provides free education and incentives to encourage attendance. The implementation of an e-system for procurement and the need for confirmation from the state government have caused further delays. The inspection report is expected in 8-10 days. Parents hope for better times for their children in the near future.

NAVI MUMBAI: As many as 57,000 students studying in Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC)-run schools are yet to receive their uniforms and other articles, including school bags, stationeries, shoes etc. despite the academic year having started three months back.

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The delay is attributed to the change in the payment system and the state government delaying inspection reports.

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The civic body provides free education, uniforms and school-related articles to its students. These kids are mostly from the economically weaker sections and hence the civic body provides them a number of incentives to encourage them to come to school and also support the parents. It has started a number of schools in various mediums from Balwadi (pre-schools) to standard 10.

There are a total of 57,000 students studying in the civic schools. NMMC has 57 primary schools in the city of which around 51,000 students study. There are also 23 secondary schools in which around 6,000 students are admitted.

According to the government order, since 2016-17 NMMC has started the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) system. Under the system, parents had to purchase the uniforms and submit bills to the respective schools and the payments would be reimbursed through direct credits in the bank accounts of the parents.

A civic official said, “Since a large number of parents work on daily wages, it was not possible for them to make the purchases from their own funds. The system was hence receiving less response.”

He added, “Due to the poor response to the DBT policy, the administration decided to adopt an e-system for procurements. It has received permission from the state government for the same.” The e-system entails that the NMMC education department will send links to the mobile phones of parents who will then show them to the shopkeepers designated to supply uniforms and various articles. The shopkeeper will scan the QR code from the link of the parent to receive the payment for the uniform and articles to be given to the students.

This year with the civic body taking up e-systems for procuring the uniforms and other articles and also the need to get confirmation from the state government which is standardising uniforms in government schools, the entire process has been delayed.

According to NMMC deputy municipal commissioner (education) Dattatray Ghanvat, “It is under process. There are some technical issues which have led to some delay.”

Ghanvat said, “The samples of school uniform, PT uniform, shoes, school bag and other articles of the suppliers have been sent to the government departments for inspection. We are awaiting the inspection report.”

He stated, “We are expecting it in another 8-10 days following which the uniforms and other articles will be available for the students.”

Krishna Suryavanshi, a parent in Turbhe, who works as a labourer, said, “Earlier, it was difficult for us to purchase the uniforms and that would delay our children getting them in time. We would save to make the payments upfront and then get reimbursed.”

He lamented, “With the change in the system, we had hoped for better times for our kids, who look forward to wearing new uniforms and shoes in the new academic year. They are, however, still wearing last year’s uniforms and other articles. All we can do is wait. Hopefully, things will be better in the near future.”

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