Court Asks Centre To Give Information On Welfare Schemes In Drought-Hit States

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Court Asks Centre To Give Information On Welfare Schemes In Drought-Hit States

The plea in Supreme Court said further said that school-going children be also given milk and eggs under the mid-day meal scheme.


New Delhi:  The Supreme Court today asked the Centre to apprise it of the current status of welfare schemes like Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), National Food Security and mid-day meal in 12 drought-hit states across the country.

A bench of Justices MB Lokur and RK Agrawal also asked the authorities to specify the criteria for declaration of the drought and sought information about rainfall in these states.

It also asked the affected states to provide the requisite information on the welfare schemes to the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare which, in turn, would collate the data and file them before it on January 22, the next date of hearing.

The bench was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) which alleged that parts of states like Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, Haryana and Chhattisgarh have been hit by drought and the authorities were not providing adequate relief.

During the brief hearing, the bench asked Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the Centre, to give information about implementation of schemes under MGNREGA, Food Security Act and the mid-day meal schemes as to whether those affected were being provided the minimum required employment and food or not.

The Solicitor General said that affected states have been provided financial aid from the State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF) and the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF).

Funds to the tune of over Rs 1,500 crore, Rs 1,276 crore, Rs 2,032 crore, Rs 3,044 crores have been made available to Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra respectively, he said, adding that for 2015-20, a total fund of Rs 61,291 crore has been earmarked to provide relief to the states which may be hit by disasters.

The PIL, filed by NGO Swaraj Abhiyan run by persons like psephologist Yogendra Yadav, has sought implementation of the National Food Security Act which guarantees five kilogram of food grain per person per month. It has also sought a direction to the authorities that affected families be also given pulses and edible oils.

The plea has further said that school-going children be also given milk and eggs under the mid-day meal scheme.


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