I do not like the concept of free meal. It is nothing but giving alms. And, perhaps, it has a placebo effect for the highest executive body of this country. Unfortunately all religions encourage poor feeding as it is referred to. During my morning walks, I find women from wealthy families taking out packets of food items and distributing to the poor, who have just woken up from their footpath bed. Those who take the packets have need for it. May be they slept empy stomach or just lying down without sleep because of pangs of hunger. But for those giving away the packets it was placebo effect. It is akin to watching a tragic film and saying to self, ‘ thank god this did not happen to me’.
By distributing free meals to poor students Governmment is doing exactly the same thing. Do you think the parents of children receiving free mid-day meal feel happy? On the contrary, they are sad about their inability to provide food to their children.
Instead of giving alms the Government should work for economically empowering the poor. According to sensus there is no unemployment in our country. The problem is one of wages. If a worker gets wages that can enable him to provide for food, shelter, clothing, education upto high school level and medical care for three members, he will not sacrifice his self-respect to opt for free meals.
There are many schemes for upliftment of the poor. But the benefits hardly reach the poor. Incharge officials of the scheme get richer. It is not enough to just allocate funds. Government should have a mechanism to see that the justice is done. Instead of giving free meals wages should be increased. Democracy is not for just 10% of the population. A handful of people from India coming in the bracket of ‘world’s richest’ is not an achievement, it is infact a matter of concern. When there is hunger, mal nourishment, planning for going to moon is akin to a starving family wanting to buy a colour television.