Education Minister A. Suresh on Saturday refuted the allegation that Jagananna Vidya Kanuka was a Central scheme hijacked by the Jagan Mohan Reddy government.
Addressing the media here, the Minister asserted that the novel scheme was the brainchild of the Chief Minister, who was passionate about extending quality education to children belonging to all sections of society. To ensure that poverty did not hinder a child’s education, he came up with this programme that took care of all the needs of schoolchildren, he added.
The novelty of the scheme had attracted the attention of other States, the Minister claimed, adding that children were excited about not just their new school kits but also about the new look of their school buildings and classrooms, and were eager to attend their classes.
The Minister said children and their parents were upbeat, and were thankful to Mr. Jagan Mohan Reddy. But unable to digest his “growing popularity,” the Opposition leaders made baseless allegations about the programme, he said.
Speaking about the Central funds, Mr. Suresh said the State had received only ₹100 crore from the Centre. The YSRCP government had spent ₹293 crore on purchase of three pairs of uniform cloth for each student while the stitching charges were being deposited in the bank accounts of the students’ mothers. A total of ₹650 crore was spent on distribution of school kits to 43 lakh students, he said.
Giving the break-up, the Minister said that ₹69.44 crore was spent on school bags, ₹79.05 crore on notebooks, ₹67.75 crore on a pair of shoes and two pairs of socks for each student, ₹10.13 crore on belts and ₹29.70 crore on workbooks.
He said that if there was any student who did not receive the kits, he or she should approach the authorities who would immediately respond. He said the aim was to reduce school dropout rate and bring children out of school into the school fold.
The Minister said he was ready for a discussion on the subject with any of Opposition leader who was not convinced.