NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Centre to consider free distribution of foodgrains to the hungry poor of the country instead of allowing it to rot in the Food Corporation of India (FCI) godowns.
“Give it to the hungry poor instead of it (grains) going down the drain,” a bench of Mr Justice Dalveer Bhandari and Mr Justice Deepak Verma told Additional Solicitor General, Mr Mohan Parasaran appearing for the Centre.
The bench asked the Centre to ensure construction of a big godown in each state besides separate godowns in different districts and divisions within the states and expedite the computerisation process of Public Distribution System (PDS) system to check pilferage and corruption.
The bench passed the direction while dealing with a PIL filed by the civil rights group PUCL on rampant corruption in PDS besides rotting of foodgrains in FCI godowns.
The measures suggested by the Apex Court in an order include increase in the quantum of food supply to the population Below Poverty Line, opening fair price shops on all 30 days a month and distributing foodgrains to the deserving population at a very low cost or at no cost.
The PDS needs to be strengthened, particularly in tribal and drought-prone areas of the country, the bench said. At the last hearing, the Apex Court had asked the government to consider the suggestions for disbanding PDS supply to Above Poverty Line (APL) families and restrict the benefit only to BPL families and Antodya Anna Yojana (AAY) Scheme beneficiaries. However, the Centre in an affidavit on Thursday said it was extending the PDS supply to APL families only after meeting the requirements of the BPL/AAY beneficiaries.