A worker preparing milk for students in a government school in Udaipur
A worker preparing milk for students in a government school in UdaipurThe Mooknayak

Rajasthan: Worker Shortage Hampers Milk Preparation for Lakhs of Students in 65K Government Schools

The inadequate remuneration of rupees 500 per month for workers responsible for preparing milk from powdered milk has resulted in a shortage of available personnel.

Udaipur— In a bid to address the nutritional needs of students specially those from the underprivileged sections, attending government schools in Rajasthan, the state government launched the Bal Gopal Yojana.

However, the ambitious scheme has hit a roadblock as teachers struggle to find workers to prepare milk from powdered milk due to the significantly low remuneration of Rs 500 per month. This issue has prompted the Rajasthan Shikshak Evam Panchayati Raj Karamchari Sangh to demand an increase in the honorarium to Rs 2000 per month for the individuals responsible for preparing the milk in schools.

Increased work load, low honorarium

The Bal Gopal Yojana was introduced during the previous academic session with the aim of providing essential nutrition to children in government schools, since most of them hail from low-income groups, particularly those residing in tribal and rural areas of Rajasthan. Initially, milk was supplied twice a week to the students, but due to its success and growing demand, the provision was extended to four days a week. As of the current session, the scheme has expanded further, and daily milk distribution has become a reality for lakhs of children enrolled in government primary and middle schools, including registered madrasas. The scheme covers approximately 65,000 schools across the state

A worker preparing milk for students in a government school in Udaipur
Safeguarding Student Mental Health: Rajasthan's Initiative to Address Depression and Suicides through the Coaching Institute (Control and Regulation) Bill 2023

Plight of teachers and workers

The Rajasthan Teachers and Panchayati Raj Employees Association expressed concerns regarding the distribution of milk in government schools under the Bal Gopal Yojana. The union's State President, Shersingh Chauhan, and Provincial General Secretary, Rajesh Sharma, highlighted the discrepancy between the government's efforts to alleviate inflationary pressures for the public during the election year and the challenges faced by schools in procuring milk.

In the memorandum submitted to the Chief Minister and the Chief Secretary, the union members detailed the issue at hand. In the previous academic session, school children from classes 1 to 8 received powdered milk on Tuesdays, Fridays, and subsequent Wednesdays and Fridays of the week. The remuneration for the individuals responsible for preparing, distributing, and cleaning the utensils was set at a mere Rs 500 per month. With the recent expansion of the scheme, milk is now distributed daily in all schools throughout the week, but the honorarium for the workers remains unchanged. Consequently, the workload has increased significantly for these individuals who are responsible for catering to the nutritional needs of hundreds of children. Finding workers willing to undertake such a task for a nominal sum has proven to be an arduous task.

Association Demand Fair Compensation

Recognizing the challenges faced by teachers and workers, the Rajasthan Teachers and Panchayati Raj Employees Union has taken a stand against the inadequate compensation. The union has urged the government to increase the honorarium for milk preparation in schools from Rs 500 to Rs 2000 per month, reflecting the increased workload and ensuring fair compensation for these individuals. There are 47,515 primary and 17,479 secondary schools in Rajasthan. " We find it really difficult to get workers to work for a meagre honorarium as little as 500 rupees a month, under the scheme as it is a tedious job to prepare milk , wash the utensils on a daily basis. There could be 100 to 500 children in schools up to grade 8 , depending on the enrollment number. Presently we are managing the work with the help pf the cook preparing mid day meal for the children and they are over burdened with the milk preparing task. This is a genuine issue and government should address it urgently" Sher Singh told The Mooknayak.

Bal Gopal Yojana

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot launched the Mukhyamantri Bal Gopal Yojana on November 29, 2022, at Civil Line Jaipur, marking its launch across Rajasthan. This comprehensive scheme encompasses the provision of mid-day meals as well as the distribution of milk to students from grades I to VIII. The purpose of the scheme is to provide nutrition to the children and ensure their physical wellness and also to control drop-out rate.

Initially the children received milk twice a week, specifically on Tuesdays and Fridays. Later it was extended to four days a week. The initiative caters to different age groups, with 15 grams of powdered milk allotted to per student in grades 1 to 5, 20 grams to those in grades 6 to 8. The state government provides the powdered milk to government primary schools, madrassas, and special training schools that participate in the mid-day meal program. The procurement of powdered milk is facilitated through the Rajasthan Co-operative Dairy Foundation.

Also Read:
A worker preparing milk for students in a government school in Udaipur
Seven Years Later: Seeking Justice and Dalit Assertion in the Wake of the Una Dalit Flogging Incident
A worker preparing milk for students in a government school in Udaipur
Karnataka Government Takes Bold Step to Rehabilitate Marginalized Children and End Manual Scavenging
A worker preparing milk for students in a government school in Udaipur
Silencing Truth: Women Journalists, Activists Targeted for Speaking Out Against Crimes

You can also join our WhatsApp group to get premium and selected news of The Mooknayak on WhatsApp. Click here to join the WhatsApp group.

Related Stories

No stories found.
The Mooknayak English - Voice Of The Voiceless