Arunachal among states fined for not furnishing MDM details

ITANAGAR, Dec 6: Arunachal Pradesh is among the five states, besides Andhra Pradesh, Meghalaya, Odisha and Jammu & Kashmir, which had been fined Rs 1 lakh each by the Supreme Court for not furnishing details on the midday meal (MDM) scheme in the states.
A bench comprising Justices Madan B Lokur, Deepak Gupta and Hemant Gupta also imposed a fine of Rs 2 lakhs on the Delhi government for not furnishing information on the scheme.
The court said the fines would be deposited with the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee within four weeks for juvenile justice issues.
Imposing the fine, the court said that Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Meghalaya and Odisha had on 26 October said they would comply with the requirements of the MDM scheme and provide necessary links giving the details of the implementation of the scheme to the satisfaction of the petitioner. However, the court said, “More than a month has gone by and there has been absolutely no progress made by these states.”
The order followed a PIL filed by NGO Antarrashtriya Manav Adhikaar Nirgraani Parishad in 2013, claiming that in over 12 lakh government-run and -aided schools in India, children receive midday meals but face the risk of food poisoning and related health hazards due to lack of monitoring of the scheme. The court had on 23 March last year asked the five states to put up the online link within three months.
Noting that the MDM scheme was of considerable benefit to the children, the court in its order said: “We have been trying to get the states to render assistance and to upload all the data so that necessary corrective steps can be taken from time to time. In spite of several of our orders, there has been little or no cooperation from some of the states.”
Saying that the scheme was not being taken “seriously by several states,” the court said: “Data has not been supplied and there are allegations made by the petitioner about food grains disappearing and not reaching the schools.”
The counsel for Jammu & Kashmir claimed the state government has already uploaded the online link, but it is not working. “We do not see the value of a link that does not work,” the court answered. The bench then posted the matter for hearing after four weeks.