GANDHINAGAR: The Gujarat government should extend the mid-day meal scheme till higher secondary level and build primary schools and Anganwadis in far-flung areas, according to a report on the practice of untouchability prevailing in the state.
The report, prepared by the Ahmedabad-based Cept University, an autonomous academic institution, and submitted to the government, has made a slew of recommendations.
These recommendations were tabled in the Legislative Assembly, which is having its monsoon session, by the government during the Question Hour here Wednesday.
Responding to Shailesh Parmar's (Congress) query on the status of the report, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Ishwar Parmar told the House the report on untouchability was submitted by Cept University in 2013 after surveying over 1,500 villages of the state.
The report noted the mid-day meal scheme, currently in force till the primary level, is helpful in fostering social harmony as students of all castes have their food together.
The university recommended that the scheme should be implemented till higher secondary level (Class 12), minister Parmar's written reply said.
The report pointed out that Anganwadis (child care centres) and the mid-day meal scheme are instrumental in establishing interaction with various "social groups".
It recommended that the government should start such Anganwadis and primary schools in far-flung areas said the reply.
Further, the report stressed on improving the quality of education and noted many teachers were not able to give their best as they were given non-teaching tasks by the government.
As per the report, primary and community health centres in rural areas bring people from different castes together.
The government should strengthen this healthcare delivery system, it suggested. The survey highlighted the importance of housing schemes for the poor, saying they promote cohabitation.
It noted that since people from various castes live together in such colonies, the government should focus on these schemes which would serve as a "bridge between people".
Parmar told the House departments concerned have already been told to implement these recommendations.