BATHINDA: As a result of the Punjab government’s failure to provide its share for the midday meal scheme for over 15 lakh primary and upper primary students, the Centre has not released its share from July onwards.
The Union government was to release an installment of Rs 58 crore in July till November but it is still awaiting the Punjab government’s release of 40% of the grant
The Centre’s share is disbursed only after the state governments concerned release their grant and the school education department sends the utilization certificate of the earlier amount spent on the scheme. The midday meal is a central scheme under Sarv Sikhiya Abhiyan (SSA) for the state governments have to pay their 40% share.
The Union government had, on May 1, sent Rs 41.07 crore to Punjab on ad hoc basis for the first three months of the ongoing fiscal. The state government was to release its share of Rs 23.74 crore for these three months and was to continue releasing its share of funds for the next months
Till date, the Punjab government has released only Rs 40 crore, including Rs 24.64 crore on Monday evening. The bill for Rs 28.40 crore is pending in the state treasury since August 18. Due to non-clearance of that amount for nearly three months, the office of director general school education (DGSE), Punjab could not send the utilization certificates and the Union government stopped the released of its share.
When contacted, Punjab finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal said, “A part of the money has been released for the midday meal scheme. It is done periodically and next installment will be released accordingly.”
22 Jan 2021
23 Jan 2021