PM praises Chhattisgarh bureaucrat for welfare work
Raipur, April 22 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has hailed the contribution of a bureaucrat in Chhattisgarh for revolutionising the government's mid-day meal scheme in the impoverished Bastar district through formation of women self-help groups.
During a function at the Vigyan Bhawan here Saturday, the prime minister made special appreciation for IAS officer Dinesh Srivastava, who is credited with revolutionising the mid-day meal scheme in Bastar during his tenure as a district collector (December 2003-June 2006).
"Manmohan Singh lavished praise on the bureaucrat when he supervised an exhibition at the Vigyan Bhawan based on the Bastar model of the mid-day meal scheme and termed the Bastar mid-day meal concept a model that should be followed by other districts in the country," an official press statement said.
Srivastava was instrumental in the formation of about 9,500 women self-help groups in Bastar in 2004. These groups are now personally taking care of nearly 150,000 poor primary schoolchildren by serving them food as part of the government's school meal programme.
Bastar has a population of about 2.6 million including 1.3 million women. The district has 2,776 primary schools with about 200,000 students.
In rural areas of the district, the dropout rate among students is very high and officials find it difficult to persuade poverty-hit parents to get their children back to schools.
Literacy rate in the tribal dominated Bastar is marginally above 45 percent with women's literacy rate about 34 percent.