In response to a state of crisis arising from a dispute between the Centre and the state regarding technicalities related to the Mid-day meal scheme, the Kerala government has taken proactive steps. The state has decided not to wait for the Central government’s contribution and has released a portion of its own financial share. Kerala’s Education Minister, V Sivankutty, announced during a press conference that the state has issued an order for the release of the initial installment of its share, amounting to INR 81.57 crore.
This funding is expected to cover the outstanding dues for the months of June and July, as well as a portion of the arrears for August.
Previously, the Kerala government had allocated INR 209.68 crore from a designated nodal account under the supervision of the Director of General Education for the Mid-day meal scheme for the fiscal year 2021-22, following the directives of the Union government. The recent decision is an extension of this allocation.
Furthermore, the funds earmarked for the year 2021-22 will be officially recorded as expended in the Public Financial Management System (PFMS), a centralized monitoring system overseen by the Union Finance Ministry. This total of INR 209.68 crore comprises the state’s contribution of INR 76.78 crore and the Centre’s share of INR 132.90 crore.
Previously, the Union Ministry of Education had accused the state of failing to transfer its allocated funds to the designated nodal account, potentially making it ineligible for further disbursements. However, the state government clarified that these funds had already been utilized, and all relevant records and documentation had been submitted to the Central authorities.
It is worth noting that the Central government’s allocation for the upcoming fiscal year is typically sanctioned once the state submits its financial report detailing the utilization of funds from the previous year.