Shri B S Yediyurappa,
The Hon’ble Chief Minister,
Government of Karnataka,
Sub: Restart supply of milk/milk powder under the Ksheerya Bhagya scheme to school children.
We are a group of nutritionists, doctors, activists, lawyers and citizens, who are making an urgent appeal to resume provision of milk/milk powder to school children under the Ksheera Bhagya scheme for government-run and government-aided schools.
The Ksheera Bhagya scheme which started in the year 2013-14 and provides a glass (150 ml) of hot milk to school-going children in Karnataka is a progressive and significant nutritional scheme by the Government of Karnataka which has been appreciated across the country. For several children studying in government-run and government-aided schools, Ksheera Bhagya scheme is the only source of milk-protein and many other vitamins and minerals. As is well known, a majority of the children studying in government-run and government-aided school come from economically and socially marginalized communities including Dalit, Adivasi and Other Backward Classes.
It is therefore a matter of grave concern that after the closing of schools due to COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a total shutdown of supply of milk/milk powder to children since June 2020 under the Scheme. The reason appears to be a Note by the Finance Department which states that
“In view of providing sufficient ration to all families in the State through Public Distribution System (PDS) and Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY), it is advised not to implement the scheme. However, the Administrative Department is directed to implement the regular mid-day meals scheme as and when the schools reopen and start functioning.”
The above note overlooks the fact that milk is not being provided under either the PDS system or under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana. Several media reports show that ‘sufficient ration’ is not at all being provided to many families and even those who have received rations, have only received cereal, specifically, rice. Additionally, these two schemes can be accessed by only those having BPL cards while Ksheera Bhagya covers children of several families who do not have BPL cards.
The reluctance of the Government of Karnataka to provide milk/milk powder to children under Ksheera Bhagya scheme is particularly unjustified when Karnataka Milk Federation has been reporting surplus milk procurement for which it is unable to find a market. A recent news report appearing in the New Indian Express also shows that the pandemic and its effects may have worsened hunger and pushed many children across the state into starvation. If the worsening situation of child malnutrition is not addressed immediately, it could even reverse the limited progress made in the last few years by us towards a malnutrition-free Karnataka.
Hence, in the interest of children studying in government-run and government-aided schools, we urge you to ensure that Milk/milk powder should be provided to the school-children under the Ksheera Bhagya scheme of the state government for all pending months since June and on a regular and prompt basis for the subsequent months till the opening of the schools.
- Shri S Suresh Kumar, Hon’ble Minister for Primary and Secondary Education, Government of Karnataka.
- Chief Secretary to Government of Karnataka.
- Principal Secretary, Department of Primary and Secondary Education, Government of Karnataka
|1||Aasha Ramesh||Social Activist and Researcher|
|2||Abdul Razak||Secular Indians|
|3||Abhigna Arigala||Development Professional|
|5||Alwyn D’Souza||Indian Social Institute, Bengaluru|
|7||Anant Phadke||Jan Swasthy Abhiyan|
|9||Anita Rego||Pearlss 4 Development|
|12||Arul Anthony Pandian||Bunnji Telecom – Melbourne – Australia|
|15||Bittu K R||Karnataka Janashakti|
|16||Cavery Bopaiah||Swaraj Abhiyan|
|17||Chandni Ganesh||St. Joseph’s College|
|18||Dimple Oberoi Vahali||Independent Activist|
|19||Dr Sylvia Karpagam||Public health doctor|
|20||Dr. Mohan Rao||Independent researcher in Bangalore|
|21||Dr. Veena Shatrugna||Former Deputy Director, National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad|
|22||Dr.Niranjanaradhya.V.P.||Centre for Child and the Law, NLSIU,Bengaluru|
|23||Dr.Ramachandrappa HT||Impact India Consortium Bengaluru|
|24||G Ravi||Disability Rights Activist|
|26||Guru prasad||Human Rights Awareness|
|28||Huzafah Sadaf SM||Independent|
|30||Jagrat Yogaj Biswal||Employee in Private Company|
|31||Jeevan HL||Swaraj India|
|32||Joseph Xavier||Indian Social Institute Bangalore|
|33||Kalpanashivanna||President, Chiguru ಬಾಲವಿಕಾಸ Samsthe|
|34||Kathyayini Chamaraj||CIVIC Bangalore / Right to Food Campaign|
|35||KP Singh||Swaraj India|
|36||Latha Ramji||Health for all group|
|38||Mallappa S Kumbar||Karnataka sexual minorities forum|
|39||Mohammed Sadath Hussain||Ramaiah Institute of technology|
|40||Nachiket Udupa||Concerned individual|
|42||Naveen Tejaswi||Kannadada MakkaLu|
|43||Nidhin Sasi||IT Employee|
|44||Padmini Kumar||Joint Women’s Programme|
|48||R Srinivasan||Retd IIMB|
|49||R.KALEEM ULLAH||SWARAJ ABHIYAN BANGALORE|
|50||Raja Vemula||Brother of Rohith Vemula|
|52||Ravikiran Suryanarayanamurthy||Sakra World Hospital|
|53||Rizwan s||Mercy mission|
|54||Sagar S||IT employee|
|55||Shahbuddin Khan||Pinnacle Foundation|
|56||Shashank S R||National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bengaluru|
|58||Shruthi Raman||Centre for Child and the Law, NLSIU|
|59||Siddharth K J||Independent Researcher, Bengaluru|
|60||Sneha Rajaram||Writer, Bangalore|
|61||Souri Majumder||National Institute of Advanced Studies|
|62||Sr.Monica Rani||His Paradise for the Deserted Charitable Trust|
|65||Suresha B||Media House|
|67||SWARUPA RANI||SAKAR,FIAN INDIA,COMMON HEALTH|
|68||Syed Tousif Masood||Naavu Bharathiyaru|
|69||SYED WASEEM RAJA||Youth India Association|
|70||Terry pais||President of Diocesan council of catholic women mangalore|
|71||Vandana Srivastava||Centre for Learning|
|72||Vijaya Kumar seethappa||Karnataka janaarogya Chaluvali|
|73||Vinay K S||Advocate|
|75||Vishwesha Guttal||Indian Institute of Science|
|76||Zainab N S||Individual|
|77||Zia Nomani||Bandhua Mukti Morcha|
- The News Minute, “Resume providing milk, milk powder to govt school kids: 77 activists to K’taka CM“, Dec 1, 2020.
- Deccan Herald, “‘Resume Ksheera Bhagya’: Nutritionists write letter to Karnataka CM“, Dec 02, 2020.
- The Hindu, “Experts urge government to restart Ksheera Bhagya programme“, Dec 02, 2020.