‘Aadhaar-linked midday meals will check pilferage, misuse’

Kolkata, (IANS) Making Aadhaar Card mandatory for midday meals will check pilferage, misuse and siphoning of funds meant for the central scheme, an official of the Food and Nutrition Board said here on Thursday.

“The linking seeks to check pilferage and siphoning of funds. The scheme benefits will then go to children and middlemen prevented from misusing the scheme,” Nagendra Nath Tiwari, Deputy Technical Advisor, Food and Nutrition Board (Eastern Region), Union Ministry of Women and Child Development, told IANS.

He said no one will be deprived of the benefits for lack of the identification card.

The Human Resource Development Ministry in a gazette notification on February 28 had mandated Aadhaar for the midday meal scheme.

Under the Centre-sponsored midday meal scheme aimed at improving nutritional status of school-age children nationwide, free cooked lunch is provided to children in primary and upper primary classes in government and government-aided schools.

Tiwari was attending a live interaction between the West Bengal government officials and children from various districts, on mother and children healthcare issue in the state.

It was organised by the West Bengal Commission for Protection of Child Rights, in collaboration with CINI (Child in Need Institute) and ITC.

Young girls and boys from different parts of the state narrated their experiences, their fears and how some of them evaded agents involved in child trafficking.

Talking about child protection issues, Tiwari said for government initiatives to bear fruit, children themselves have to be aware of their rights and the dos and don’ts.

“The success of government initiatives depends on the stakeholders’ participation and children are the key here. They have to know their rights and what to do when they are in vulnerable situations. They will act as messengers for peers,” he added.

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