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MP: Malnourished Child’s Video Goes Viral Amidst Row Over Alleged Fraud in Nutrition Scheme

Opposition demands CM’s resignation over alleged fraud in THR nutrition & distribution scheme; govt report says nearly 10 lakh children malnourished in state.

16 Sep 2022

 Malnourished

Bhopal: A week after being admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Somvati Mawasi, an eight-year-old malnourished tribal girl of Chitrakoot town of Madhya Pradesh's Satna district,  has gained 600 grams of weight. She weighed a meagre seven kg when she was initially taken to the hospital.

She was diagnosed with acute malnourishment and juvenile diabetes, rare in children. According to her doctors, she is 15 kg underweight for her age and her blood sugar level has dropped to 110 which was around 700- seven times higher than the normal for children of her age.

When the doctors inquired about her family, Somvati's aunt Seema, a daily-wage labourer explained, “her father abandoned her mother when she was pregnant. Her mother also abandoned her when she was three-year-old and went away with someone else."

Since then she has been looked after by maternal aunt Seema and grandfather Kaku, a daily-wage labourer. Both failed to look after her as they leave home early morning in search of work while she remained alone at home.

She was also admitted to the Nutrition Rehabilitation Centre (NRC) twice in 2019 and 2020 for 14-days each after she was spotted by a local Anganwadi worker. But she was discharged irrespective of her deteriorating health conditions as per the laid down rules, said a health officer adding that she should have been enrolled on Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) as she was eligible for it.

"The health workers failed to spot her diabetic problem which was the main reason for her deteriorating health even though she was admitted to NRC twice," the officer of the Women and Child Development Department told NewsClick.

"We are giving her insulin for a week as she is showing a sign of improvement," he said. "We are also planning to rehabilitate her as she can't be sent back to her aunt and grandfather who are living in destitute," he added.

The District administration took up the call after a video of Somvati, a resident of Surangi Tola area of Chitrakoot town, created a buzz on social media which was noticed by chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and he took cognisance of it.

Her video came at a time when the opposition Congress has been demanding CM Chouhan’s resignation over the alleged fraud of over 110 crore in the Take Home Ration (THR) nutrition and distribution scheme between 2018 to 2021. THR is given to kids between six months and three years of age, out-of-school adolescent girls and pregnant and lactating women.

Satna, home to over 6,000 malnourished children, is among the eight districts of Madhya Pradesh where the THR nutrition and distribution scheme was underway and a 36-page government audit detected massive fraud in it.

A fortnight before Somvati was spotted, nine-year-old Sunaina Mawasi, another severely malnourished tribal girl from the Maihar area of Satna district died in the hospital. The girl was admitted thrice to NRC but did not recover. Yet, the health officials claim that she died of a respiratory disorder.

The leaked report of the Madhya Pradesh Accountant General office shows huge discrepancies in the THR component of the supplementary nutrition programme under ICDS run by the Women and Child Development Department- a department headed by CM Chouhan since March 2020. But the state government denies any such fraud citing an incomplete report.

Taking action over the issue, the Satna district administration terminated the services of the local Anganwadi worker and suspended her supervisor. Besides, the Child Development Project Officer of ICDS in the concerned area has been suspended by the Rewa divisional commissioner on the recommendation of the Satna district collector.  

Despite repeated attempts, Satna District collector, Anurag Verma and Chief Medical Health officer 10.32 Lakh Severely Malnourished Kids in MP

In a reply to the question of malnourishment among kids in the assembly in March 2022, the State government said that there are 10.32 lakh malnourished children and of them, 6.30 lakh are severely malnourished.

Replying to the question of BJP MLA Chaitanya Kashyap, the Chief Minister, who holds the Women and Child Development Department portfolio, replied in the assembly. The State has a total of over 65 lakh children between the age group of 0-5 years. Of them, 10.32 lakh are malnourished and close to 6.30 lakh children are put in the severely malnourished category. 

Chouhan affirmed that the situation of malnutrition has improved in districts and added that the state government is making efforts to eradicate malnutrition under various schemes including Atal Bihari Vajpayee Bal Arogya and Poshan Mission.

NFHS -5

Every third kid aged under 0-5 years in Madhya Pradesh is stunted or too short for their age, according to the fifth round of the National Family and Health Survey (NFHS-5) released by the ministry of health and family welfare this year.

The survey found that 36% of children under the age of five years are stunted, indicating that they have been undernourished for some time. The survey also pointed out that children’s nutritional status in Madhya Pradesh hasn't changed much by all measures since the previous NFHS-4. Lack of complementary feeding to kids aged above six months is the cause behind inadequate diet causing under-nutrition.

Commenting on it, Amulya Nidhi of Jan Swasth Abhiyan told NewsClick, "corruption is a major reason for prevailing malnourishment in the state. Madhya Pradesh has over 6 lakh, malnourished kids, in 2012 and it's the same even after a year."

Emphasising tackling corruption in children's budget, he pointed out, "Decline in health indicators in various reports suggests that the policies and money government spent to eradicate malnourishment is eating up by corruption. We have seen massive irregularity in the Take Home Ration scheme, this is the tip of the iceberg."

Madhya Pradesh government has set up 313 NRCs in all blocks in rural areas in the state which is the highest in the country for taking care of these kids.

Courtesy: Newsclick

MP: Malnourished Child’s Video Goes Viral Amidst Row Over Alleged Fraud in Nutrition Scheme

Opposition demands CM’s resignation over alleged fraud in THR nutrition & distribution scheme; govt report says nearly 10 lakh children malnourished in state.

 Malnourished

Bhopal: A week after being admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Somvati Mawasi, an eight-year-old malnourished tribal girl of Chitrakoot town of Madhya Pradesh's Satna district,  has gained 600 grams of weight. She weighed a meagre seven kg when she was initially taken to the hospital.

She was diagnosed with acute malnourishment and juvenile diabetes, rare in children. According to her doctors, she is 15 kg underweight for her age and her blood sugar level has dropped to 110 which was around 700- seven times higher than the normal for children of her age.

When the doctors inquired about her family, Somvati's aunt Seema, a daily-wage labourer explained, “her father abandoned her mother when she was pregnant. Her mother also abandoned her when she was three-year-old and went away with someone else."

Since then she has been looked after by maternal aunt Seema and grandfather Kaku, a daily-wage labourer. Both failed to look after her as they leave home early morning in search of work while she remained alone at home.

She was also admitted to the Nutrition Rehabilitation Centre (NRC) twice in 2019 and 2020 for 14-days each after she was spotted by a local Anganwadi worker. But she was discharged irrespective of her deteriorating health conditions as per the laid down rules, said a health officer adding that she should have been enrolled on Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) as she was eligible for it.

"The health workers failed to spot her diabetic problem which was the main reason for her deteriorating health even though she was admitted to NRC twice," the officer of the Women and Child Development Department told NewsClick.

"We are giving her insulin for a week as she is showing a sign of improvement," he said. "We are also planning to rehabilitate her as she can't be sent back to her aunt and grandfather who are living in destitute," he added.

The District administration took up the call after a video of Somvati, a resident of Surangi Tola area of Chitrakoot town, created a buzz on social media which was noticed by chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and he took cognisance of it.

Her video came at a time when the opposition Congress has been demanding CM Chouhan’s resignation over the alleged fraud of over 110 crore in the Take Home Ration (THR) nutrition and distribution scheme between 2018 to 2021. THR is given to kids between six months and three years of age, out-of-school adolescent girls and pregnant and lactating women.

Satna, home to over 6,000 malnourished children, is among the eight districts of Madhya Pradesh where the THR nutrition and distribution scheme was underway and a 36-page government audit detected massive fraud in it.

A fortnight before Somvati was spotted, nine-year-old Sunaina Mawasi, another severely malnourished tribal girl from the Maihar area of Satna district died in the hospital. The girl was admitted thrice to NRC but did not recover. Yet, the health officials claim that she died of a respiratory disorder.

The leaked report of the Madhya Pradesh Accountant General office shows huge discrepancies in the THR component of the supplementary nutrition programme under ICDS run by the Women and Child Development Department- a department headed by CM Chouhan since March 2020. But the state government denies any such fraud citing an incomplete report.

Taking action over the issue, the Satna district administration terminated the services of the local Anganwadi worker and suspended her supervisor. Besides, the Child Development Project Officer of ICDS in the concerned area has been suspended by the Rewa divisional commissioner on the recommendation of the Satna district collector.  

Despite repeated attempts, Satna District collector, Anurag Verma and Chief Medical Health officer 10.32 Lakh Severely Malnourished Kids in MP

In a reply to the question of malnourishment among kids in the assembly in March 2022, the State government said that there are 10.32 lakh malnourished children and of them, 6.30 lakh are severely malnourished.

Replying to the question of BJP MLA Chaitanya Kashyap, the Chief Minister, who holds the Women and Child Development Department portfolio, replied in the assembly. The State has a total of over 65 lakh children between the age group of 0-5 years. Of them, 10.32 lakh are malnourished and close to 6.30 lakh children are put in the severely malnourished category. 

Chouhan affirmed that the situation of malnutrition has improved in districts and added that the state government is making efforts to eradicate malnutrition under various schemes including Atal Bihari Vajpayee Bal Arogya and Poshan Mission.

NFHS -5

Every third kid aged under 0-5 years in Madhya Pradesh is stunted or too short for their age, according to the fifth round of the National Family and Health Survey (NFHS-5) released by the ministry of health and family welfare this year.

The survey found that 36% of children under the age of five years are stunted, indicating that they have been undernourished for some time. The survey also pointed out that children’s nutritional status in Madhya Pradesh hasn't changed much by all measures since the previous NFHS-4. Lack of complementary feeding to kids aged above six months is the cause behind inadequate diet causing under-nutrition.

Commenting on it, Amulya Nidhi of Jan Swasth Abhiyan told NewsClick, "corruption is a major reason for prevailing malnourishment in the state. Madhya Pradesh has over 6 lakh, malnourished kids, in 2012 and it's the same even after a year."

Emphasising tackling corruption in children's budget, he pointed out, "Decline in health indicators in various reports suggests that the policies and money government spent to eradicate malnourishment is eating up by corruption. We have seen massive irregularity in the Take Home Ration scheme, this is the tip of the iceberg."

Madhya Pradesh government has set up 313 NRCs in all blocks in rural areas in the state which is the highest in the country for taking care of these kids.

Courtesy: Newsclick

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Child stolen Mathura railway station found at BJP leader’s home

30 Aug 2022

Stolen BabyBaby stolen from Mathura Railway station

Mathura: In a shocking development, an infant who was stolen from Mathura railway station last week, has been recovered from the house of a local BJP leader, who allegedly bought him for Rs 1.8 lakh from a child-trafficker.

The child was sleeping next to his mother on the platform at Mathura railway station on August 24 when he was abducted.

After searching for several days, he was recovered from the house of a BJP corporator from Firozabad, Vinita Agrawal, and her husband Krishna Murari Agrawal, with investigators identifying a racket, headed by a doctor couple from Hathras.

Investigations are on to identify other members of the racket, said police.

Police have arrested the doctor couple – Prem Behari, 38, and his wife Dayawati, 38, who used a hospital they ran in Hathras, Bankey Behari Hospital, as a front for their illegal business – and four of their associates, Deep Kumar, 40, Poonam, 43, Manjeet, 43, and Vimlesh, 38.

BJP corporator, Vinita Agarwal 49, and her husband Krishna Murari, 51, have also been arrested.

Superintendent of Police (SP) for Government Railway Police (GRP), Mohammad Mushtaq, said, “The child was sleeping with his mother on the platform when a man picked up the infant and walked off. A case was registered at GRP Mathura under section 363 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for kidnapping.”

Police traced the movements of Deep Kumar through CCTV footage gathered from nearby districts. “Deep Kumar was seen travelling in roadways bus and the conductor identified him and he was arrested. This opened the case and doctors were traced leading to clues on whereabouts of the child,” said the SP.

The SP said a deal was negotiated for the child at Rs 1.80 lakh and an amount of 85,000 has been recovered.

The official said, “Six teams were constituted to trace the missing child, and a surveillance team was activated to work out CCTV footage available about the incident. The gang operating under a doctor couple of Hathras as a kingpin, has been busted.”

Call details of those arrested after nabbing Deep Kumar gave clues which were assembled and their call details gave police more links of this network spread in Agra, Firozabad, Mathura beside other districts of Agra Zone.

The SP said the doctor couple confessed to running an organised gang involved in the theft and selling of children.

“These children were abducted from railway platforms and bus stands and sold to childless couples,” he said.

“We are also investigating Poonam and Vimlesh as it was revealed that they are working as ANM (auxiliary nursing midwifery) on contract for government welfare schemes. Sections related to the offence of human trafficking are being added to crime,” Mushtaq added.

Courtesy: The Daily Siasat

Child stolen Mathura railway station found at BJP leader’s home

Stolen BabyBaby stolen from Mathura Railway station

Mathura: In a shocking development, an infant who was stolen from Mathura railway station last week, has been recovered from the house of a local BJP leader, who allegedly bought him for Rs 1.8 lakh from a child-trafficker.

The child was sleeping next to his mother on the platform at Mathura railway station on August 24 when he was abducted.

After searching for several days, he was recovered from the house of a BJP corporator from Firozabad, Vinita Agrawal, and her husband Krishna Murari Agrawal, with investigators identifying a racket, headed by a doctor couple from Hathras.

Investigations are on to identify other members of the racket, said police.

Police have arrested the doctor couple – Prem Behari, 38, and his wife Dayawati, 38, who used a hospital they ran in Hathras, Bankey Behari Hospital, as a front for their illegal business – and four of their associates, Deep Kumar, 40, Poonam, 43, Manjeet, 43, and Vimlesh, 38.

BJP corporator, Vinita Agarwal 49, and her husband Krishna Murari, 51, have also been arrested.

Superintendent of Police (SP) for Government Railway Police (GRP), Mohammad Mushtaq, said, “The child was sleeping with his mother on the platform when a man picked up the infant and walked off. A case was registered at GRP Mathura under section 363 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for kidnapping.”

Police traced the movements of Deep Kumar through CCTV footage gathered from nearby districts. “Deep Kumar was seen travelling in roadways bus and the conductor identified him and he was arrested. This opened the case and doctors were traced leading to clues on whereabouts of the child,” said the SP.

The SP said a deal was negotiated for the child at Rs 1.80 lakh and an amount of 85,000 has been recovered.

The official said, “Six teams were constituted to trace the missing child, and a surveillance team was activated to work out CCTV footage available about the incident. The gang operating under a doctor couple of Hathras as a kingpin, has been busted.”

Call details of those arrested after nabbing Deep Kumar gave clues which were assembled and their call details gave police more links of this network spread in Agra, Firozabad, Mathura beside other districts of Agra Zone.

The SP said the doctor couple confessed to running an organised gang involved in the theft and selling of children.

“These children were abducted from railway platforms and bus stands and sold to childless couples,” he said.

“We are also investigating Poonam and Vimlesh as it was revealed that they are working as ANM (auxiliary nursing midwifery) on contract for government welfare schemes. Sections related to the offence of human trafficking are being added to crime,” Mushtaq added.

Courtesy: The Daily Siasat

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Karnataka: Police Detain Chief Seer of Lingayat Mutt for Alleged Sexual Abuse of Minors

Two minor girls have accused the seer of 'sexually abusing' them for nearly couple of years and others of allegedly cooperating with the act.

30 Aug 2022

Haryana: Dainik Bhaskar Scribe Held, Another Booked for Publishing ‘Incorrect Place’ of Terrorist Arrest
Representational Image. Image Courtesy: iStock


New Delhi: Police have detained and started investigation against a Chitradurga-based prominent Lingayat mutt seer Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru on Monday for alleged sexual abuse of minor girls, according to reports. The Mysuru police registered a case under the POCSO Act against the Murugha Mutt seer on Sunday.

The case has been registered at the Nazarbad Police Station in Mysuru, based on a complaint by an officer of the District Child Protection Unit, The Hindu reported. The warden of a hostel run by the mutt was among the five accused, police sources told PTI. The seer was detained after the case was transferred to the Chitradurga police.

The police said the complaint is based on the statement of the two girls who accused the seer of 'sexually abusing' them for nearly couple of years now and others of allegedly cooperating with the act, PTI reported.

The girls reportedly approached the 'Odanadi Seva Samsthe', a Mysuru-based NGO, and narrated their ordeal during counselling on Friday night. Following this, the organisation approached the authorities.

The two girl victims then reached Chitradurga on Saturday night and were placed in the district Bala Mandira and brought to the child welfare committee. Their statement was recorded before the child welfare committee and the district police, following which a medical examination was conducted on them at the district hospital.

According to the police complaint, the girls are aged 15 and 16 and were staying at the hostel run by the Murugha Mutt. The two were sexually abused for over three-and-a-half-years, as per an India Today report.

The Chitradurga police have also registered a complaint against S K Basavarajan, former MLA and administrator of the mutt, on charges of kidnapping the victims and trying to sexually assault a woman warden of the said hostel, The Hindu reported.

The case against S K Basavarajan was registered by the warden of Muruga Mutt at Chitradurga rural police station under IPC Sec 354(A),504,506,363, & u/s 120(B), India Today reported. The warden alleged that the two minor girls from the Muruga Mutt hostel were kidnapped and later found at Cottonpet Police Station in Bengaluru. She alleged that Basavarajan has been accused of sexually abusing the children and the warden from the day he took over as administrator of the Muruga Mutt.


Protests in City

The city saw two different protests seeking justice for the seer and the victims, according to The Hindu's report. While one group comprising some seers and politicians protested the seer's arrest and claimed that allegations against him were false and baseless, the other group of protesters held a demonstration before the child welfare committee and demanded a fair and transparent probe. Some protesters belonging to the latter group also demanded a judicial probe into the case citing a lack of confidence in the local police. 

There is a possibility of the provisions of the Prevention of Atrocities against SC/STs Act being invoked against the seer because one of the victims is from the Scheduled Caste.

Meanwhile, Murugha Sharanaru has responded to the allegations claiming they were a part of a “big conspiracy” against him, according to The Hindu.


Courtesy: Newsclick

Karnataka: Police Detain Chief Seer of Lingayat Mutt for Alleged Sexual Abuse of Minors

Two minor girls have accused the seer of 'sexually abusing' them for nearly couple of years and others of allegedly cooperating with the act.

Haryana: Dainik Bhaskar Scribe Held, Another Booked for Publishing ‘Incorrect Place’ of Terrorist Arrest
Representational Image. Image Courtesy: iStock


New Delhi: Police have detained and started investigation against a Chitradurga-based prominent Lingayat mutt seer Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru on Monday for alleged sexual abuse of minor girls, according to reports. The Mysuru police registered a case under the POCSO Act against the Murugha Mutt seer on Sunday.

The case has been registered at the Nazarbad Police Station in Mysuru, based on a complaint by an officer of the District Child Protection Unit, The Hindu reported. The warden of a hostel run by the mutt was among the five accused, police sources told PTI. The seer was detained after the case was transferred to the Chitradurga police.

The police said the complaint is based on the statement of the two girls who accused the seer of 'sexually abusing' them for nearly couple of years now and others of allegedly cooperating with the act, PTI reported.

The girls reportedly approached the 'Odanadi Seva Samsthe', a Mysuru-based NGO, and narrated their ordeal during counselling on Friday night. Following this, the organisation approached the authorities.

The two girl victims then reached Chitradurga on Saturday night and were placed in the district Bala Mandira and brought to the child welfare committee. Their statement was recorded before the child welfare committee and the district police, following which a medical examination was conducted on them at the district hospital.

According to the police complaint, the girls are aged 15 and 16 and were staying at the hostel run by the Murugha Mutt. The two were sexually abused for over three-and-a-half-years, as per an India Today report.

The Chitradurga police have also registered a complaint against S K Basavarajan, former MLA and administrator of the mutt, on charges of kidnapping the victims and trying to sexually assault a woman warden of the said hostel, The Hindu reported.

The case against S K Basavarajan was registered by the warden of Muruga Mutt at Chitradurga rural police station under IPC Sec 354(A),504,506,363, & u/s 120(B), India Today reported. The warden alleged that the two minor girls from the Muruga Mutt hostel were kidnapped and later found at Cottonpet Police Station in Bengaluru. She alleged that Basavarajan has been accused of sexually abusing the children and the warden from the day he took over as administrator of the Muruga Mutt.


Protests in City

The city saw two different protests seeking justice for the seer and the victims, according to The Hindu's report. While one group comprising some seers and politicians protested the seer's arrest and claimed that allegations against him were false and baseless, the other group of protesters held a demonstration before the child welfare committee and demanded a fair and transparent probe. Some protesters belonging to the latter group also demanded a judicial probe into the case citing a lack of confidence in the local police. 

There is a possibility of the provisions of the Prevention of Atrocities against SC/STs Act being invoked against the seer because one of the victims is from the Scheduled Caste.

Meanwhile, Murugha Sharanaru has responded to the allegations claiming they were a part of a “big conspiracy” against him, according to The Hindu.


Courtesy: Newsclick

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UP: Boy allegedly thrashed by teacher over fee payment, dies

The boy allegedly died due to severe internal bleedings, caused by injuries during the incident.

19 Aug 2022

ChildRepresentative Image

Bahraich: A 13-year-old boy died in a hospital in Uttar Pradesh’s Bahraich district almost nine days after he was allegedly thrashed by his teacher.

The boy allegedly died due to severe internal bleedings, caused by injuries during the incident.

Rajesh Vishwakarma, the victim’s brother, told reporters: “My brother was beaten up by his teacher because of school fees of Rs 250 per month. I had paid it online but the teacher did not know and brutally beat up my brother.”

The victim’s uncle has now lodged a complaint with the Sirsiya police.

The incident has taken on a casteist colour with the boy’s family claiming that the victim was thrashed as he was a Dalit while the teacher belonged to the upper caste.

Shravasti SP Arvind K. Maurya said that a case has been registered and investigations were underway.

Last week, a nine-year-old Dalit boy, who was allegedly thrashed by his school teacher in Rajasthan, for touching a drinking water pot, also died.

Courtesy: The Daily Siasat

UP: Boy allegedly thrashed by teacher over fee payment, dies

The boy allegedly died due to severe internal bleedings, caused by injuries during the incident.

ChildRepresentative Image

Bahraich: A 13-year-old boy died in a hospital in Uttar Pradesh’s Bahraich district almost nine days after he was allegedly thrashed by his teacher.

The boy allegedly died due to severe internal bleedings, caused by injuries during the incident.

Rajesh Vishwakarma, the victim’s brother, told reporters: “My brother was beaten up by his teacher because of school fees of Rs 250 per month. I had paid it online but the teacher did not know and brutally beat up my brother.”

The victim’s uncle has now lodged a complaint with the Sirsiya police.

The incident has taken on a casteist colour with the boy’s family claiming that the victim was thrashed as he was a Dalit while the teacher belonged to the upper caste.

Shravasti SP Arvind K. Maurya said that a case has been registered and investigations were underway.

Last week, a nine-year-old Dalit boy, who was allegedly thrashed by his school teacher in Rajasthan, for touching a drinking water pot, also died.

Courtesy: The Daily Siasat

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9-year-old Dalit boy dies after teacher allegedly thrashes him; cops deny “caste angle”

Family alleges teacher was enraged and beat up the 9-year-old boy after he touched a pot of water meant for “upper caste” people

18 Aug 2022

Dalit Boy

Indra Meghwal, a 9-year-old Dalit boy who was allegedly beaten brutally by his teacher, has succumbed to his injuries. The boy’s family alleges that his teacher beat up the boy for drinking water from a pot that was only meant for “upper caste” people such as the teacher.

The family hails from Surana village in Rajasthan’s Jalore district and the beating took place on July 20. The boy succumbed to his injuries on August 13 in an Ahmedabad hospital, after being taken to at least six other hospitals in the interim.

“My boy, Indra Kumar, was a student of standard three,” said his father Devaram Meghwal in an interview to NDTV. “He tried to drink water from a pot following which his teacher beat him up. We found out when he came back home and saw the injuries to his ears and face. He said the teacher beat him,” said Meghwal. “The beating was so brutal, it led to hemorrhage and my boy’s limbs stopped working. First, we took him to a local hospital, but had to keep shifting him from one hospital to another in nearby villages and districts. We even went to Mehsana and finally Ahmedabad,” he recalled.

“My nephew died because of his caste. Dalits face inhuman treatment in our region. “Even today, we have to go several kilometres to find barbers who can cut our hair. Ever since we registered the FIR, we have been living in fear for our own safety,” his uncle Kishore Kumar Meghwal told the Indian Express.

The family has pointed fingers at Chail Singh, an “upper caste” teacher who they say was enraged when Indra touched a pot of water meant for the teacher and proceeded to brutally thrash the boy. Singh was arrested on Saturday after the child’s death, and the police have taken statements of his classmates and other students present on that day.

Shockingly, police say they haven’t found a “caste angle” to the death.

Jalore SP Harsh Vardhan Agarwalla told the publication, “We are investigating the allegation that the boy was beaten up because he drank from a certain pot, and are also interrogating people from the school. But our preliminary investigation hasn’t proved this allegation.”

But the family has found support in local political leaders, one of whom, Congress MLA from Baran-Atru, Pana Chand Meghwal, resigned saying he was “hurt at the constant atrocities being committed upon Dalits and the marginalised, even after 75 years of Independence”. Bairwa, another Congress MLA from Baseri in Dholpur, who is also the Rajasthan Scheduled Caste Commission chairman visited the family and now appears less inclined to believe the police’s findings. He told IE, “The police’s factual report that was sent to us said there was no caste angle. But after talking to people here, I know that is the reason… If police are trying to suppress the motive, I will recommend the suspension of the entire police station.”

Dalit leader and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati has also demanded justice for the child. In a Hindi language tweet she said, “No amount of condemnation for this heartbreaking act is enough.” She also demanded President’s rule be imposed in Rajasthan, claiming that the Congress government had failed to protect the oppressed and marginalized people of the state.

 

 

Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mewani has also called out the caste-based crime: 

Jignesh

 

On Tuesday, August 16, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) took suo motu cognizance and sent notices to the chief secretary and the Director General of Police (DGP), Rajasthan. The NHRC has sought a detailed report, including present status of the police investigation, as well as action taken against the teacher. A news agency quoted an excerpt from the NHRC’s notice: “Apart from the status of payment of the statutory relief under provisions of the SC/ST Act, the Commission would like to know from the state government as to what steps have been taken or proposed to be taken to ensure that such inhuman and cruel acts are not done with the vulnerable sections of the society, including SC and ST.”

Meanwhile, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, met with Jignesh Mewani in Ahmedabad and on Thursday, August 18, announced monetary compensation for the family.   

 

 

 

Related:

NHRC takes suo motu cognizance of 9-year-old Dalit boy’s death

Uttar Pradesh: Dalit man dies by suicide after being allegedly assaulted by policemen

9-year-old Dalit boy dies after teacher allegedly thrashes him; cops deny “caste angle”

Family alleges teacher was enraged and beat up the 9-year-old boy after he touched a pot of water meant for “upper caste” people

Dalit Boy

Indra Meghwal, a 9-year-old Dalit boy who was allegedly beaten brutally by his teacher, has succumbed to his injuries. The boy’s family alleges that his teacher beat up the boy for drinking water from a pot that was only meant for “upper caste” people such as the teacher.

The family hails from Surana village in Rajasthan’s Jalore district and the beating took place on July 20. The boy succumbed to his injuries on August 13 in an Ahmedabad hospital, after being taken to at least six other hospitals in the interim.

“My boy, Indra Kumar, was a student of standard three,” said his father Devaram Meghwal in an interview to NDTV. “He tried to drink water from a pot following which his teacher beat him up. We found out when he came back home and saw the injuries to his ears and face. He said the teacher beat him,” said Meghwal. “The beating was so brutal, it led to hemorrhage and my boy’s limbs stopped working. First, we took him to a local hospital, but had to keep shifting him from one hospital to another in nearby villages and districts. We even went to Mehsana and finally Ahmedabad,” he recalled.

“My nephew died because of his caste. Dalits face inhuman treatment in our region. “Even today, we have to go several kilometres to find barbers who can cut our hair. Ever since we registered the FIR, we have been living in fear for our own safety,” his uncle Kishore Kumar Meghwal told the Indian Express.

The family has pointed fingers at Chail Singh, an “upper caste” teacher who they say was enraged when Indra touched a pot of water meant for the teacher and proceeded to brutally thrash the boy. Singh was arrested on Saturday after the child’s death, and the police have taken statements of his classmates and other students present on that day.

Shockingly, police say they haven’t found a “caste angle” to the death.

Jalore SP Harsh Vardhan Agarwalla told the publication, “We are investigating the allegation that the boy was beaten up because he drank from a certain pot, and are also interrogating people from the school. But our preliminary investigation hasn’t proved this allegation.”

But the family has found support in local political leaders, one of whom, Congress MLA from Baran-Atru, Pana Chand Meghwal, resigned saying he was “hurt at the constant atrocities being committed upon Dalits and the marginalised, even after 75 years of Independence”. Bairwa, another Congress MLA from Baseri in Dholpur, who is also the Rajasthan Scheduled Caste Commission chairman visited the family and now appears less inclined to believe the police’s findings. He told IE, “The police’s factual report that was sent to us said there was no caste angle. But after talking to people here, I know that is the reason… If police are trying to suppress the motive, I will recommend the suspension of the entire police station.”

Dalit leader and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati has also demanded justice for the child. In a Hindi language tweet she said, “No amount of condemnation for this heartbreaking act is enough.” She also demanded President’s rule be imposed in Rajasthan, claiming that the Congress government had failed to protect the oppressed and marginalized people of the state.

 

 

Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mewani has also called out the caste-based crime: 

Jignesh

 

On Tuesday, August 16, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) took suo motu cognizance and sent notices to the chief secretary and the Director General of Police (DGP), Rajasthan. The NHRC has sought a detailed report, including present status of the police investigation, as well as action taken against the teacher. A news agency quoted an excerpt from the NHRC’s notice: “Apart from the status of payment of the statutory relief under provisions of the SC/ST Act, the Commission would like to know from the state government as to what steps have been taken or proposed to be taken to ensure that such inhuman and cruel acts are not done with the vulnerable sections of the society, including SC and ST.”

Meanwhile, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, met with Jignesh Mewani in Ahmedabad and on Thursday, August 18, announced monetary compensation for the family.   

 

 

 

Related:

NHRC takes suo motu cognizance of 9-year-old Dalit boy’s death

Uttar Pradesh: Dalit man dies by suicide after being allegedly assaulted by policemen

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Two Starvation Deaths in Fortnight Rattles West Bengal

Confusion caused due to overlapping ration schemes and unemployment appear to be direct causes behind the starvation deaths.

18 Aug 2022

Starvation deaths

Kolkata: Two tragic starvation deaths in the previous fortnight during the 76th independence day celebrations have rattled the state. Both the two deaths were reported from backward regions of West Bengal - one from Bhulabheda of West Medinipur district and the other from Kranti block of Malbazar in Jalpaiguri district.

The first incident involves the death of Sanjay Sardar died on August 3 due to malnutrition as he was left without food for days. The family has been in dire straits after he contracted tuberculosis in the month of June and Sanjay, a daily wage earner, could not go to work.

Though on paper there are schemes like Laxmi Bhandar and other schemes; however Sanjay didn't have the required Scheduled Caste (SC) certificate, resulting in his family not receiving the stipulated Rs 1,000.

Based on a report by a Bengali news daily, a team from the Right to Food and Work Campaign visited Bhulabheda recently and surveyed the condition of people living there. In the fact finding report it is stated that the death of the daily wage earner should be seen in the context of the food crisis that has set in the area. Sanjay’s family admitted to the fact-finding team that getting even one square meal for a day was difficult for them. Moreover as the family didn't have Aadhar card linkage with their ration card, they did not get the stipulated Rajya Khadya Suraksha Yojana (RKSY 2) ration which is monthly 1 kg of rice and 1 kg of wheat.

Sanjay Sardar was a migrant labourer who lost his job during the first lockdown, according to the report. After coming home in March 2020 he did not get any work in the village. Sometimes, he got paid as a farmhand but that was extremely irregular. While the family needed an Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) ration card, the government instead gave them a RKSY 2 ration card which is meant for relatively better-off persons. It should be noted that in AAY scheme, a family gets 35 kgs of rice and wheat and cereals.

The second starvation death occurred in a closed tea garden where a tea garden worker, Dinesh Orao, lost his life on August 13 due to malnutrition as he was left without food for months.

The name of the tea garden is Raj Project Garden. As the tea garden owner, Dharmendra Thakur arbitrarily closed the plantation on July 10, Orao’s family had been starving for months.

“The owner of the garden is singularly responsible for this death,” family members of the deceased told reporters.

It may be recalled that in the Malbazar area, a number of tea gardens including Nageshwari tea estate, Bagrakote tea estate, Kilkote tea estate and many other tea estates are closed, and this has resulted in widespread hunger among tea garden workers in the area.

Courtesy: Newsclick

Two Starvation Deaths in Fortnight Rattles West Bengal

Confusion caused due to overlapping ration schemes and unemployment appear to be direct causes behind the starvation deaths.

Starvation deaths

Kolkata: Two tragic starvation deaths in the previous fortnight during the 76th independence day celebrations have rattled the state. Both the two deaths were reported from backward regions of West Bengal - one from Bhulabheda of West Medinipur district and the other from Kranti block of Malbazar in Jalpaiguri district.

The first incident involves the death of Sanjay Sardar died on August 3 due to malnutrition as he was left without food for days. The family has been in dire straits after he contracted tuberculosis in the month of June and Sanjay, a daily wage earner, could not go to work.

Though on paper there are schemes like Laxmi Bhandar and other schemes; however Sanjay didn't have the required Scheduled Caste (SC) certificate, resulting in his family not receiving the stipulated Rs 1,000.

Based on a report by a Bengali news daily, a team from the Right to Food and Work Campaign visited Bhulabheda recently and surveyed the condition of people living there. In the fact finding report it is stated that the death of the daily wage earner should be seen in the context of the food crisis that has set in the area. Sanjay’s family admitted to the fact-finding team that getting even one square meal for a day was difficult for them. Moreover as the family didn't have Aadhar card linkage with their ration card, they did not get the stipulated Rajya Khadya Suraksha Yojana (RKSY 2) ration which is monthly 1 kg of rice and 1 kg of wheat.

Sanjay Sardar was a migrant labourer who lost his job during the first lockdown, according to the report. After coming home in March 2020 he did not get any work in the village. Sometimes, he got paid as a farmhand but that was extremely irregular. While the family needed an Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) ration card, the government instead gave them a RKSY 2 ration card which is meant for relatively better-off persons. It should be noted that in AAY scheme, a family gets 35 kgs of rice and wheat and cereals.

The second starvation death occurred in a closed tea garden where a tea garden worker, Dinesh Orao, lost his life on August 13 due to malnutrition as he was left without food for months.

The name of the tea garden is Raj Project Garden. As the tea garden owner, Dharmendra Thakur arbitrarily closed the plantation on July 10, Orao’s family had been starving for months.

“The owner of the garden is singularly responsible for this death,” family members of the deceased told reporters.

It may be recalled that in the Malbazar area, a number of tea gardens including Nageshwari tea estate, Bagrakote tea estate, Kilkote tea estate and many other tea estates are closed, and this has resulted in widespread hunger among tea garden workers in the area.

Courtesy: Newsclick

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Delhi HC expresses concerns over presence of CSA survivor at the time of POCSO bail hearings

Concerns about the possible impact of such allegedly forced interaction between the survivor and the alleged abuser have been raised by rights groups

16 Aug 2022

 survivor of Child Sexual AbuseRepresentation Image | https://www.scsaorg.org


The Delhi High Court expressed concerns over the potential psychological impact on a survivor of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) when they are required to be present in court during bail hearings for the alleged abuser. This is because the arguments often vary from allegations, accusations, doubting integrity and outright character assassination, even when the survivor is a minor and the alleged abuser is being tried under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO), which is the central legislation dealing with sexual offences against children.

The HC was hearing an interlocutory application asking for suspension of sentence of a POCSO accused as he has served a substantial portion of his sentence that was prescribed by the trial court. The court imposed several restrictions on the accused who is the father of prosecutrix (the survivor) such as - that the he shall not visit his family in Rajasthan, that he should visit the police station every Monday, that he shall not contact any members of the survivor’s family.

On receiving some suggested practices from the side of appellant over in light of the fact that many of the victims in POCSO cases were being made to appear physically or virtually in Court at the time of hearing of the bail applications, the court said in its order, “This has led to a situation where the victims are being forced not only potentially interact with the accused person, but also be present in Court when the arguments regarding the offence are being taken up for hearing. The psychological impact on a POCSO victim being present in Court is immensely grave as the arguments vary from allegations, accusations, doubting integrity, character etc. The prosecutrix/ victim is forced to be present in the Court with the accused that is the same person who allegedly has violated her.”

The court sent the suggested guidelines to Delhi High Court Legal Services Committee (DHCLSC) and Delhi Legal Services Authority (DLSA) for their input.

Section 33 of the act states that the special court that has taken cognizance of an offence, should create a child friendly atmosphere in courts. Section 36 of the act states that the child should not see the accused during testifying or presenting any evidence in the court. This section allows the usage of single visibility mirrors and curtains for the purpose of realising the purpose of the section. It says --

“(1) The Special Court shall ensure that the child is not exposed in anyway to the accused at the time of recording of the evidence, while at the same time ensuring that the accused is in a position to hear the statement of the child and communicate with his advocate.

(2) For the purposes of sub-section (1), the Special Court may record the statement of a child through video conferencing or by utilising single visibility mirrors or curtains or any other device.”

 Section 37 of the POCSO Act states that the trials be conducted in Camera and parents or person the child has trust or confidence in, be present. It says-

“The Special Court shall try cases in camera and in the presence of the parents of the child or any other person in whom the child has trust or confidence:

Provided that where the Special Court is of the opinion that the child needs to be examined at a place other than the court, it shall proceed to issue a commission in accordance with the provisions of section 284 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974)”

These provisions were included in the act so that the child is not put through the trauma once again during the process of trial and a child friendly environment can be created. The case will be listed on 30th August again for further directions.

The full order may be read here: 

Related:

Jubilee Hills gang rape case: POCSO court to begin trial soon

Women and children targeted at public toilets, Mumbai POCSO Court suggests appointing women security guards

Delhi HC expresses concerns over presence of CSA survivor at the time of POCSO bail hearings

Concerns about the possible impact of such allegedly forced interaction between the survivor and the alleged abuser have been raised by rights groups

 survivor of Child Sexual AbuseRepresentation Image | https://www.scsaorg.org


The Delhi High Court expressed concerns over the potential psychological impact on a survivor of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) when they are required to be present in court during bail hearings for the alleged abuser. This is because the arguments often vary from allegations, accusations, doubting integrity and outright character assassination, even when the survivor is a minor and the alleged abuser is being tried under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO), which is the central legislation dealing with sexual offences against children.

The HC was hearing an interlocutory application asking for suspension of sentence of a POCSO accused as he has served a substantial portion of his sentence that was prescribed by the trial court. The court imposed several restrictions on the accused who is the father of prosecutrix (the survivor) such as - that the he shall not visit his family in Rajasthan, that he should visit the police station every Monday, that he shall not contact any members of the survivor’s family.

On receiving some suggested practices from the side of appellant over in light of the fact that many of the victims in POCSO cases were being made to appear physically or virtually in Court at the time of hearing of the bail applications, the court said in its order, “This has led to a situation where the victims are being forced not only potentially interact with the accused person, but also be present in Court when the arguments regarding the offence are being taken up for hearing. The psychological impact on a POCSO victim being present in Court is immensely grave as the arguments vary from allegations, accusations, doubting integrity, character etc. The prosecutrix/ victim is forced to be present in the Court with the accused that is the same person who allegedly has violated her.”

The court sent the suggested guidelines to Delhi High Court Legal Services Committee (DHCLSC) and Delhi Legal Services Authority (DLSA) for their input.

Section 33 of the act states that the special court that has taken cognizance of an offence, should create a child friendly atmosphere in courts. Section 36 of the act states that the child should not see the accused during testifying or presenting any evidence in the court. This section allows the usage of single visibility mirrors and curtains for the purpose of realising the purpose of the section. It says --

“(1) The Special Court shall ensure that the child is not exposed in anyway to the accused at the time of recording of the evidence, while at the same time ensuring that the accused is in a position to hear the statement of the child and communicate with his advocate.

(2) For the purposes of sub-section (1), the Special Court may record the statement of a child through video conferencing or by utilising single visibility mirrors or curtains or any other device.”

 Section 37 of the POCSO Act states that the trials be conducted in Camera and parents or person the child has trust or confidence in, be present. It says-

“The Special Court shall try cases in camera and in the presence of the parents of the child or any other person in whom the child has trust or confidence:

Provided that where the Special Court is of the opinion that the child needs to be examined at a place other than the court, it shall proceed to issue a commission in accordance with the provisions of section 284 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974)”

These provisions were included in the act so that the child is not put through the trauma once again during the process of trial and a child friendly environment can be created. The case will be listed on 30th August again for further directions.

The full order may be read here: 

Related:

Jubilee Hills gang rape case: POCSO court to begin trial soon

Women and children targeted at public toilets, Mumbai POCSO Court suggests appointing women security guards

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Jubilee Hills gang rape case: POCSO court to begin trial soon

12 Aug 2022

Posco

Hyderabad: The trial in the sensational Jubilee Hills minor girl gang rape case is all set to commence in couple of weeks as the special court for POCSO cases has taken cognizance of the charge-sheet filed by the Jubilee Hills police.

In last week of July the police succeeded in filing the 600 pages charge sheet within a span of 56 days. Since the five accused are minors and one is an adult, the police submitted the charge sheets before the Juvenile Justice Board and before the POCSO court.

The police have recorded the statements of as many as 65 witnesses.

On May 28, a minor girl was allegedly gang raped by a group of youths including five minor children and a major youth after a non-alocholic party at a pub at
upscale area of Jubilee Hills.  The police have arrested the youths and also seized their cars.

The investigation into the rape case including the Test Identification parade, recording of the statement of the victim under CrPc section 164 before the magistrate, con ducting of DNA test and forensic examintaion of the car used inthe crime  was completed a chargesheet was filed upon which the POCSO court took cognizance. Soon the charges may be framed against all the accused persons.

Courtesy: The Daily Siasat

Jubilee Hills gang rape case: POCSO court to begin trial soon

Posco

Hyderabad: The trial in the sensational Jubilee Hills minor girl gang rape case is all set to commence in couple of weeks as the special court for POCSO cases has taken cognizance of the charge-sheet filed by the Jubilee Hills police.

In last week of July the police succeeded in filing the 600 pages charge sheet within a span of 56 days. Since the five accused are minors and one is an adult, the police submitted the charge sheets before the Juvenile Justice Board and before the POCSO court.

The police have recorded the statements of as many as 65 witnesses.

On May 28, a minor girl was allegedly gang raped by a group of youths including five minor children and a major youth after a non-alocholic party at a pub at
upscale area of Jubilee Hills.  The police have arrested the youths and also seized their cars.

The investigation into the rape case including the Test Identification parade, recording of the statement of the victim under CrPc section 164 before the magistrate, con ducting of DNA test and forensic examintaion of the car used inthe crime  was completed a chargesheet was filed upon which the POCSO court took cognizance. Soon the charges may be framed against all the accused persons.

Courtesy: The Daily Siasat

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UP: No Govt Funds for Mid-day Meals for over 3 Months, Headmasters Forced to Raise Money

The Education Department has attributed the delay in payment to the non-release of the funds by the state Finance Department.

01 Aug 2022

mid day meal
Image for representational purpose

Lucknow: Government schools in Uttar Pradesh have reportedly not received any money for mid-day meals for the last three months, preventing some schools from serving food to children under the scheme. In a few schools, teachers and gram pradhan (village head) have been spending from their own pockets or buying rations on credit to feed the children. The Education Department has attributed the delay in payment to the non-release of funds by the Finance Department.

After getting a supply of wheat and rice from food procurement agencies, the schools typically receive compensation for the cooking costs at the rate of Rs 4.97 per student for primary classes and Rs 7.45 for upper primary classes from the state government. The amount is provided to procure ingredients such as pulses, vegetables, oil, salt, spices, turmeric and LPG. The amount of mid-day meals provided to the schools is according to the number of students. Under the national programme, 60% of the cooking cost is shared by the Centre and 40% by the state.

Ajay Singh, a teacher in a Sitapur district school alleged that the government has diverted the funds meant for the midday meal scheme towards some other activity. He claimed that over Rs 2.3 crore meant for the scheme in his district were knowingly diverted by the Bharatiya Janata Party government in the state towards other work. 

"The Yogi government has been snatching food from children's mouths and spending money on its image building," a teacher said on the condition of anonymity. Teachers say they are buying food because the people who send their children to school are very poor. In Gonda district alone, the bills have piled up to Rs 2.7 crore.

In 412 schools in the Ghazipur district, a total of 34,7117 students are served meals under the scheme. The outstanding dues of these schools for the cooking costs are over Rs 2 crore in the district.

The village head of Ghazipur's Rajapur, Ashwani Rai, said that they have not received funds after the month of March for providing mid-day meals at his school. Due to this, all the food is being prepared for the children by taking loans from shopkeepers. However, he said that the Education Department has started streamlining things and the funds would be released to the schools in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the Education Department has attributed the delay in payment to the non-release of the funds by the state Finance Department. Sources in the School Education Department said the bills were submitted to the Finance Department in the last month itself, but the funds had not been released so far.

"This is not just a matter of one or two districts, but the situation is similar in all the government-run schools as every time the budget comes very late from the state. Funds for ingredients have been due for the past several months," Virendra Mishra, national spokesperson of Rashtriya Shaikshik Mahasangh (RSM), a national-level outfit of primary school teachers told NewsClick, adding that teachers were spending money from their pocket for the children. 

When asked then how the schools manage to provide mid-day meals to the children, Mishra who is also a headmaster at a primary school in Gauriya Diha in the Gonda district, said, "The village head provides the mid-day meal ration from his own pocket or picking up rations on credit. But in most of the schools, the headmasters manage from their salary or collect funds from teachers as most of the children belong to marginalised backgrounds. We can not send them back empty stomach," he told NewsClick, adding that he draws money from his own salary to provide food to around 217 bonafide students enrolled in his school.

"On average, if 150 children are coming to the school, it cost around Rs 750 to Rs 800 per day for the midday meals. We have been forced to run the scheme from our own pockets, as Basic Education Department threatens to take disciplinary action against us if the scheme stop," he claimed.

Meanwhile, the parents of school-going kids said the authorities concerned should be more particular about the matter so that nutritious food can be provided to their wards and teachers didn’t have to be inconvenienced.

NO INCREASE IN CONVERSION COST AFTER 2020

The midday meal scheme was started in 2001 by the central government to enhance enrolment, retention, and attendance in government primary schools and simultaneously improve the nutritional status of the children. Under the scheme, a student from any government or government-aided primary school is to be served a meal with a minimum content of 300 calories of energy and 8-12 grams of protein a day for a minimum of 200 days.

It must be mentioned that the central government has not made an increment in the conversion cost under the National Program of Mid-Day Meal in Schools (NP-MDMS) since 2020. The revised rate of the cooking cost for the primary stage (class 1 to 5) is Rs 4.97 per child, and Rs 7.45 for upper primary (class 6 to 8), which was revised in 2018. 

MDM

On July 22, Rashtriya Shaikshik Mahasangh wrote a letter to the BJP MP from Dhaurahra and the party vice-president, Rekha Arun Verma, to increase the conversion cost of MDM since inflation has skyrocketed and prices of edible oil, and LGP manifold. 

From September 1, 2004, to August 15, 2016, the conversion cost was Rs 1 per student at the primary level and from October 1, 2007, to June 30, 2008, the conversion cost was Rs 2.50 per student at the upper primary level. After this, the conversion cost was increased almost every year relative to inflation. But from July 1, 2016, till December 15, 2018, conversion cost was not least increased not per inflation, the letter reads.

MDM

At last, the conversion cost was increased by the government on July 1, 2020, to Rs 4.97 per student at the primary level and Rs 7.45 per student at the upper primary level. In the last two and half years, not a single penny has increased even though the inflation rate has increased significantly over the last two years. The cost of the items used in mid-day meals has increased from two-fold to three-fold. For example, the cost of mustard oil, which was earlier Rs.70 to Rs.80 per kg, has now gone up to Rs.180 per kg. Similarly, the price of the gas cylinder has increased from Rs.600 to around Rs.1050, that for soybean has increased from Rs 50 per kg to Rs 110 per kg.

"Rs 4.97 is given per student for six days for food in which we have to give 150 ml milk every Wednesday to each student. If we split the milk cost, Rs 3.57 would be left for the food per student. Since the inflation is so high, edible oil, vegetables, milk, LPG and other ingredients being used for cooking food are expensive. How would we manage all this in just Rs 3.57?" questioned Santosh Maurya, in-charge headmaster of a government school in Chikwanpurwa under Ishanagar block in Lakhimpur Kheri distrcit.

Courtesy: Newsclick

UP: No Govt Funds for Mid-day Meals for over 3 Months, Headmasters Forced to Raise Money

The Education Department has attributed the delay in payment to the non-release of the funds by the state Finance Department.

mid day meal
Image for representational purpose

Lucknow: Government schools in Uttar Pradesh have reportedly not received any money for mid-day meals for the last three months, preventing some schools from serving food to children under the scheme. In a few schools, teachers and gram pradhan (village head) have been spending from their own pockets or buying rations on credit to feed the children. The Education Department has attributed the delay in payment to the non-release of funds by the Finance Department.

After getting a supply of wheat and rice from food procurement agencies, the schools typically receive compensation for the cooking costs at the rate of Rs 4.97 per student for primary classes and Rs 7.45 for upper primary classes from the state government. The amount is provided to procure ingredients such as pulses, vegetables, oil, salt, spices, turmeric and LPG. The amount of mid-day meals provided to the schools is according to the number of students. Under the national programme, 60% of the cooking cost is shared by the Centre and 40% by the state.

Ajay Singh, a teacher in a Sitapur district school alleged that the government has diverted the funds meant for the midday meal scheme towards some other activity. He claimed that over Rs 2.3 crore meant for the scheme in his district were knowingly diverted by the Bharatiya Janata Party government in the state towards other work. 

"The Yogi government has been snatching food from children's mouths and spending money on its image building," a teacher said on the condition of anonymity. Teachers say they are buying food because the people who send their children to school are very poor. In Gonda district alone, the bills have piled up to Rs 2.7 crore.

In 412 schools in the Ghazipur district, a total of 34,7117 students are served meals under the scheme. The outstanding dues of these schools for the cooking costs are over Rs 2 crore in the district.

The village head of Ghazipur's Rajapur, Ashwani Rai, said that they have not received funds after the month of March for providing mid-day meals at his school. Due to this, all the food is being prepared for the children by taking loans from shopkeepers. However, he said that the Education Department has started streamlining things and the funds would be released to the schools in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the Education Department has attributed the delay in payment to the non-release of the funds by the state Finance Department. Sources in the School Education Department said the bills were submitted to the Finance Department in the last month itself, but the funds had not been released so far.

"This is not just a matter of one or two districts, but the situation is similar in all the government-run schools as every time the budget comes very late from the state. Funds for ingredients have been due for the past several months," Virendra Mishra, national spokesperson of Rashtriya Shaikshik Mahasangh (RSM), a national-level outfit of primary school teachers told NewsClick, adding that teachers were spending money from their pocket for the children. 

When asked then how the schools manage to provide mid-day meals to the children, Mishra who is also a headmaster at a primary school in Gauriya Diha in the Gonda district, said, "The village head provides the mid-day meal ration from his own pocket or picking up rations on credit. But in most of the schools, the headmasters manage from their salary or collect funds from teachers as most of the children belong to marginalised backgrounds. We can not send them back empty stomach," he told NewsClick, adding that he draws money from his own salary to provide food to around 217 bonafide students enrolled in his school.

"On average, if 150 children are coming to the school, it cost around Rs 750 to Rs 800 per day for the midday meals. We have been forced to run the scheme from our own pockets, as Basic Education Department threatens to take disciplinary action against us if the scheme stop," he claimed.

Meanwhile, the parents of school-going kids said the authorities concerned should be more particular about the matter so that nutritious food can be provided to their wards and teachers didn’t have to be inconvenienced.

NO INCREASE IN CONVERSION COST AFTER 2020

The midday meal scheme was started in 2001 by the central government to enhance enrolment, retention, and attendance in government primary schools and simultaneously improve the nutritional status of the children. Under the scheme, a student from any government or government-aided primary school is to be served a meal with a minimum content of 300 calories of energy and 8-12 grams of protein a day for a minimum of 200 days.

It must be mentioned that the central government has not made an increment in the conversion cost under the National Program of Mid-Day Meal in Schools (NP-MDMS) since 2020. The revised rate of the cooking cost for the primary stage (class 1 to 5) is Rs 4.97 per child, and Rs 7.45 for upper primary (class 6 to 8), which was revised in 2018. 

MDM

On July 22, Rashtriya Shaikshik Mahasangh wrote a letter to the BJP MP from Dhaurahra and the party vice-president, Rekha Arun Verma, to increase the conversion cost of MDM since inflation has skyrocketed and prices of edible oil, and LGP manifold. 

From September 1, 2004, to August 15, 2016, the conversion cost was Rs 1 per student at the primary level and from October 1, 2007, to June 30, 2008, the conversion cost was Rs 2.50 per student at the upper primary level. After this, the conversion cost was increased almost every year relative to inflation. But from July 1, 2016, till December 15, 2018, conversion cost was not least increased not per inflation, the letter reads.

MDM

At last, the conversion cost was increased by the government on July 1, 2020, to Rs 4.97 per student at the primary level and Rs 7.45 per student at the upper primary level. In the last two and half years, not a single penny has increased even though the inflation rate has increased significantly over the last two years. The cost of the items used in mid-day meals has increased from two-fold to three-fold. For example, the cost of mustard oil, which was earlier Rs.70 to Rs.80 per kg, has now gone up to Rs.180 per kg. Similarly, the price of the gas cylinder has increased from Rs.600 to around Rs.1050, that for soybean has increased from Rs 50 per kg to Rs 110 per kg.

"Rs 4.97 is given per student for six days for food in which we have to give 150 ml milk every Wednesday to each student. If we split the milk cost, Rs 3.57 would be left for the food per student. Since the inflation is so high, edible oil, vegetables, milk, LPG and other ingredients being used for cooking food are expensive. How would we manage all this in just Rs 3.57?" questioned Santosh Maurya, in-charge headmaster of a government school in Chikwanpurwa under Ishanagar block in Lakhimpur Kheri distrcit.

Courtesy: Newsclick

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“Concrete action plan needed to curb child exploitation and labour” Rajasthan HC

“Appropriate action plan is required to be prepared and implemented to prevent such activities so that the children are not put to such kind of exploitative practices as child labour” said Rajasthan HC.

10 Jun 2022

child labourRepresentation Image

The Jaipur Bench of Rajasthan High Court, presided over by acting Chief Justice Mr. Mahindra Mohan Shrivastava and Mr. Justice Sameer Jain entertained the PIL Gopal Singh Bareth V/S State Of Rajasthan in order to institutionalize effective machinery and mechanism for rescue and post rescue rehabilitation of all child labours in the State of Rajasthan.

Background of PIL

The PIL (D.B. Civil Writ Petition (PIL) No. 5383/2020 ) was filled by the petitioner in person, advocate Mr. Gopal Singh Bareth. Rajasthan High Court in his previous order on 17.06.2020 had directed the state to form a high level committee comprising the Secretary, Department of Labour and the Labour Commissioner as Chairman and Secretary of that committee respectively. Further, Detailed directions on September 28, 2020 were also issued by the Court to the state government for enforcing and ensuring child rights to migrant labourers. Rajasthan The high court also directed the state to prepare appropriate action plan with the help of experts/NGOs to ensure that such exploitative child labour practices are put to halt. Gopal Singh Bareth seeking specific directions for the State Government. AG Mr. M.S. Singhvi with Adv. Siddhant Jain and Adv. Priyanka Mali appeared on behalf of the respondents-state government.

Decision of Court

The bench comprising acting Chief Justice Mr. Mahindra Mohan Shrivastava and Mr. Justice Sameer Jain, while hearing the petition observed that a number of child labourers were subject to unfair police actions and were later rescued. Large number of criminal cases have also been registered against those involved in child trafficking and exploitation of children in various small/large scale industrial and commercial activities. The court found that action has also been initiated where a child labourer were found dead

The petitioner sought to formulate and implement an action plan for the rescue and the post rescue care/rehabilitation of child labourers in the State of Rajasthan. On April 27, 2022 High Court pursuing the submissions made by the state government and the report filled by the state government, the Court observed that

“It would be in the interest of the children who are being subjected to exploitation as child labour that the high level committee focuses on this issue and prepare appropriate action plan with the help of experts/NGOs to ensure that such exploitative child labour practices are put to halt. Allowing such activities to first happen and then taking action by registering offence is not enough. Appropriate action plan is required to be prepared and implemented to prevent such activities so that the children are not put to such kind of exploitative practices as child labours”.

During the hearing the respondent's counsel informed the court that she had filed two affidavits which highlighted that after rescue of children, the rehabilitation mechanism is required to take further steps which includes payment of compensation and rehabilitation of children and other rehabilitatory practices.

The Advocate General were unable to find the said affidavits on record, the court asked the respondent's counsel to ensure that copies of the said affidavits are supplied in the office of Advocate General within a period of seven days. The court also directed the Registry to verify whether or not such affidavits have been filed and attach the same with the records of the present case. The court also granted three weeks time to Advocate General to respond to the averments made in the said two affidavits, if filed before the Registry.

Earlier directions of Rajasthan High Court

Rajasthan High Court on September 28, 2020 had directed the state government as follow:

(a) The Department of Social Justice shall issue directions to the child right enforcing officers to carry out the responsibilities strictly in view of the action plan prepared by the State and guidelines issued therein taking the assistance of NGOs working in the said field. We also call upon the said authority to submit before this Court monthly statements, facts and figures of the result (3 of 3) [CW-5383/2020] of such enforcement right as well as steps taken for rehabilitation of any minor who is found to be working.

(b) We also permit petitioner and/or NGOs working for the child right to provide necessary details of the child migrant worker who may have left for his/her State and such information once provided to the child enforcement authority, they in turn on being satisfied of the genuineness of such statements may intimate their counterparts in the respective States to initiate suitable action for taking care and rehabilitation of such child labourers.

(c) We direct the Secretary, Rajasthan State Legal Services Authority (RSLSA) to correspond with the appropriate police officers, who are concerned in the matter and to ensure that necessary financial benefits that are available under the various schemes are made available to such children at the earliest.

Moreover, the court also sought the action so far taken by the high-level committee along with a concrete action plan from the State on the next date hearing.


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“Concrete action plan needed to curb child exploitation and labour” Rajasthan HC

“Appropriate action plan is required to be prepared and implemented to prevent such activities so that the children are not put to such kind of exploitative practices as child labour” said Rajasthan HC.

child labourRepresentation Image

The Jaipur Bench of Rajasthan High Court, presided over by acting Chief Justice Mr. Mahindra Mohan Shrivastava and Mr. Justice Sameer Jain entertained the PIL Gopal Singh Bareth V/S State Of Rajasthan in order to institutionalize effective machinery and mechanism for rescue and post rescue rehabilitation of all child labours in the State of Rajasthan.

Background of PIL

The PIL (D.B. Civil Writ Petition (PIL) No. 5383/2020 ) was filled by the petitioner in person, advocate Mr. Gopal Singh Bareth. Rajasthan High Court in his previous order on 17.06.2020 had directed the state to form a high level committee comprising the Secretary, Department of Labour and the Labour Commissioner as Chairman and Secretary of that committee respectively. Further, Detailed directions on September 28, 2020 were also issued by the Court to the state government for enforcing and ensuring child rights to migrant labourers. Rajasthan The high court also directed the state to prepare appropriate action plan with the help of experts/NGOs to ensure that such exploitative child labour practices are put to halt. Gopal Singh Bareth seeking specific directions for the State Government. AG Mr. M.S. Singhvi with Adv. Siddhant Jain and Adv. Priyanka Mali appeared on behalf of the respondents-state government.

Decision of Court

The bench comprising acting Chief Justice Mr. Mahindra Mohan Shrivastava and Mr. Justice Sameer Jain, while hearing the petition observed that a number of child labourers were subject to unfair police actions and were later rescued. Large number of criminal cases have also been registered against those involved in child trafficking and exploitation of children in various small/large scale industrial and commercial activities. The court found that action has also been initiated where a child labourer were found dead

The petitioner sought to formulate and implement an action plan for the rescue and the post rescue care/rehabilitation of child labourers in the State of Rajasthan. On April 27, 2022 High Court pursuing the submissions made by the state government and the report filled by the state government, the Court observed that

“It would be in the interest of the children who are being subjected to exploitation as child labour that the high level committee focuses on this issue and prepare appropriate action plan with the help of experts/NGOs to ensure that such exploitative child labour practices are put to halt. Allowing such activities to first happen and then taking action by registering offence is not enough. Appropriate action plan is required to be prepared and implemented to prevent such activities so that the children are not put to such kind of exploitative practices as child labours”.

During the hearing the respondent's counsel informed the court that she had filed two affidavits which highlighted that after rescue of children, the rehabilitation mechanism is required to take further steps which includes payment of compensation and rehabilitation of children and other rehabilitatory practices.

The Advocate General were unable to find the said affidavits on record, the court asked the respondent's counsel to ensure that copies of the said affidavits are supplied in the office of Advocate General within a period of seven days. The court also directed the Registry to verify whether or not such affidavits have been filed and attach the same with the records of the present case. The court also granted three weeks time to Advocate General to respond to the averments made in the said two affidavits, if filed before the Registry.

Earlier directions of Rajasthan High Court

Rajasthan High Court on September 28, 2020 had directed the state government as follow:

(a) The Department of Social Justice shall issue directions to the child right enforcing officers to carry out the responsibilities strictly in view of the action plan prepared by the State and guidelines issued therein taking the assistance of NGOs working in the said field. We also call upon the said authority to submit before this Court monthly statements, facts and figures of the result (3 of 3) [CW-5383/2020] of such enforcement right as well as steps taken for rehabilitation of any minor who is found to be working.

(b) We also permit petitioner and/or NGOs working for the child right to provide necessary details of the child migrant worker who may have left for his/her State and such information once provided to the child enforcement authority, they in turn on being satisfied of the genuineness of such statements may intimate their counterparts in the respective States to initiate suitable action for taking care and rehabilitation of such child labourers.

(c) We direct the Secretary, Rajasthan State Legal Services Authority (RSLSA) to correspond with the appropriate police officers, who are concerned in the matter and to ensure that necessary financial benefits that are available under the various schemes are made available to such children at the earliest.

Moreover, the court also sought the action so far taken by the high-level committee along with a concrete action plan from the State on the next date hearing.


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