In an effort to provide at least one meal a day to children in the drought-hit Karnataka, the Congress government in the state and the NDA government at the Centre have set aside their differences to sponsor midday meals for about 22 lakh school children in 137 taluks.
The drought estimates paint a grim picture, with the Indian Meteorological Department forecasting a below-normal southwest monsoon, adding there is a 22% chance that the country could head towards a drought. Drought relief is a much ignored reality for many states in India. The Supreme Court had earlier come down heavily on Gujarat and Haryana governments for their non-seriousness in dealing with the issue of drought.
A bench comprising Justices M B Lokur and N V Ramana took both the state governments to task for filing shoddy statistics on the drought-hit areas in both the states. Karnataka, however has set an example in its preparedness for drought-relief. The state cabinet has formally cleared the decision to underwrite the Mid-Day Meal scheme in the drought-hit regions of Karnataka.
The Centre is said to have agreed to provide 60% of the Rs. 70 crore needed for the project. The Karnataka Law minister TB Jayachandra, has stated, “Other than Saturday and Sunday, we are giving the school children their midday meal on all days for 39 days.”
An effort by the Karnataka government which needs to be replicated across the drought-hit regions, across the country.