In the opening session of Parliament posed Covid-19, the Ministry of Education, formerly known as the Ministry of Human Rights Development, responded to several questions on the status of education, online education and so on. The two relevant data driven questions were the ones related to mid-day meal schemes and enrolment of girls in schools. Venkat Reddy, MP, Congress put forth the question regarding provision of Mid Day meals during the lockdown.
Schools have been shut ever since the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country and it was natural that the government would have had to find a way to fulfil its mid-day meal scheme which includes serving hot meals to primary and upper primary children under the National Food Security Act, 2013. Under the scheme, students in primary school are to be given total 100gms food grain (including 20 gms pulse, 50 gms vegetables, 5 gm oil other condiments) costing Rs. 4.97 and students of upper primary are to be given 150 gms food grain (including 30 gms pulse, 75 gms vegetables, 7.5 gm oil other condiments) costing Rs. 7.45.
The central government had asked states to provide Food Security Allowance (FSA) to the children comprising foodgrains, pulses, oil etc (equivalent to cooking cost) to all eligible children till such time their schools are closed due to the pandemic.
As per data received from states, about 9.5 crore children in the country have been provided with FSA between March and August 2020, only with a few exceptions. The state of Goa has yet to disburse this FSA as it is awaiting clearance from their Finance Department for the proposal. Further, Rajasthan and Telangana deferred from the FSA scheme; while Rajasthan only provided food grains to around 48 lakh children, Telangana provided food kits of 12 kg rice per person and Rs. 1500 per family to BPL families.
The parliamentary answer on Mid-day meals may be read here.
Further, 5 MPs including Hemant Patil and Shrikant Shinde, from Shiv Sena enquired about enrolment rate of girls at different levels of education. The Education minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal, was able to provide 2 year old data of 2017-18 from Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE) stating that Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) of Girls at primary level for the year 2017-18 was 95.39% and at secondary level was 80.62%. In 2017-18, there were about 12 crore girls enrolled in schools.
As per the 2017-18 data, the highest GER of girls at secondary level was recorded by Delhi, at 115.67%, closely followed by Tripura at 115.43%; on the other hand, the lowest GER was recorded by Uttar Pradesh, at 61.85% followed by Jammu and Kashmir, at 66.10%.
Further, the highest dropout rate of girls at secondary level in 2017-18 was recorded by Assam at 35.2% followed by Bihar at 33.7%. Though shocking, this data is two years old and does not reflect realities amidst the pandemic.
The parliamentary answer on enrolment of girls may be read here.