To privatize a breakfast program that benefits poor students?

Naam Tamilar party chief coordinator Seeman has demanded that the tamil Nadu government should abandon the decision to hand over the breakfast program for government school students to the private sector. In a statement released by Nam Tamilar party Chief Coordinator Seeman, "The decision to hand over the breakfast program for government school students to the private sector, which was started by the tamil Nadu government, has been passed in the chennai Municipal Council meeting and is strongly condemned. The DMK government's attempt to hand over the breakfast program to the private sector is the first step towards gradually privatizing the nutrition program that will satisfy the hunger of lakhs of government school students.

Perundhalaivar Kamarasar started the free mid-day meal program in government schools in 1955 for the education of poor children in tamil Nadu. Then in 1982, it was expanded into a nutrition program and nutrition centers were established in every school and the posts of nutrition organizer, cook and assistant were created. At present, 55 lakh poor students are benefiting daily in 43000 nutrition centers operating under the social welfare department of the government with approximately 1,29,000 employees across tamil Nadu.

In this case, the DMK government has started the scheme of providing breakfast to government school students, although it is welcome and commendable, but handing over food preparation work to private individuals is not acceptable in any way. Why is the DMK government handing over the newly started breakfast preparation work in schools to the private sector when government-appointed nutritionists are working in every school in tamil Nadu? For commissions from private companies? Or is it just a preview of the nutrition plan itself being rolled out to individuals?

The work of the nutrition workers who have been working for the last 40 years has not been made permanent and no rights including salary, pension and gratuity are properly provided on par with government employees. The DMK government has been struggling for their basic rights for many years without fulfilling their legitimate demands, and the DMK government is tyrannical to make them work as part-time workers.

As the vacancies in the nutrition sector are not filled, there is a dire situation where only 97,000 people are working out of 1,27,000 nutrition workers. Also, in order to reduce the number of nutrition centers in tamil Nadu, the DMK government is surveying the details of the nutrition centers operating within 3 km and it raises doubts that it is going to hand over the nutrition program to the private sector after the breakfast program.

Therefore, on behalf of Nam Tamilar party, I insist that the government of tamil Nadu should immediately abandon the decision of handing over the work of preparing breakfast for students in government schools to the private sector and hand it over to the nutrition workers, convert them into seasonal wage workers and provide them with all the basic rights of the government employees including salary increase,” he said.

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