New Delhi: Raising concern over the increasing number of deaths due to malnutrition and starvation, the Supreme Court on Wednesday observed that the country could not afford to have two Indias- one being prosperous and the other dying of hunger.

Seeking an answer from the Centre in connection with allotment of foodgrains to the states, the Apex Court bench comprising Justices Dalveer Bhandari and Deepak Verma observed: “You say we are a super power, but many countrymen are dying of hunger. It must end.”

Clarifying its stand, the Centre contended that it’s trying to improve the Public Distribution Mechanism to fight malnutrition. The government also informed the bench that their measure has brought some positive results.

Observing that they are interested in complete eradication of malnutrition, the court suggested the planners implementing the Chhattisgarh model in upgrading PDS. Entire PDS network was computerized in Chhattisgarh way back in 2007.

The state governments raised the issue of lesser allotment of foodgrains when the bench accepted the plea of making Planning Commission a party in the petition.

Counsel of Uttar Pradesh Rajkumar Gupta prayed that the Central government has been allotting foodgrains as per the data of 1991. The 1991figures do not include the additional 80 lakh Below Poverty Line (BPL) families in the state, he highlighted. Other states also registered complaints on the same lines.

In that context, the division bench sought clarifications from the Planning Commission about the methodology used to fix the number of BPL families in the country. It also raised questions over the methods used to deduce the per capita income of individuals, both in urban and rural areas.
The bench asked the Planning Commission to submit an affidavit in that regard within a week.

JPN/Bureau

 

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