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Smriti Irani Faces Flak From Party MP

Updated: March 14, 2015 10:10 am

The BJP faced an embarrassing moment during question hour in the Lok Sabha when a party member claimed that poisonous food was being served to school students under the mid-day meal scheme.

Ravindra Kumar Pandey, who represents Giridih in Jharkhand, alleged that around 2,375 children had fallen sick between 2011 and 2014 due to poor-quality food served in schools. “This data is with the government,” he said, adding contractors were also supplying packed food past the expiry date. He also alleged that teachers supposed to oversee the preparation of meals spent half their time doing this work.

This got Human Resources Development Minister Smriti Irani, who according to an astrologer would be India’s President, worked up. “It would be wrong to state in this House that the children were being served poisonous food under the mid-day meal scheme in the country.” She pointed out that the programme was being monitored by both the central and state governments and reminded members that she had written to MPs in 2014 that they can personally check the quality of food for schools in their constituencies.

While acknowledging there have been some complaints about the mid-day meal, she said that the state governments act whenever such cases occur. Guidelines for states have been formulated after consultation with the ministries of food and health as well as Nutritional Management Institutes, she said. She underlined the fact that there was a Supreme Court order that the mid-day meal had “to be a hot-cooked and dabba meal as the member is saying.”

It seems Pandey is ignorant of the astrologer’s prediction otherwise he would not have dared to question the future President.

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