SC disappointed with non-implementation of welfare schemes
The Supreme Court came down heavily on certain states for not implementing welfare legislation such as National Food Security Act, 2013. SC questioned why a state like Gujarat was not implementing the law passed by Parliament. "When the law extends to the whole of India, why is Gujarat still considering its implementation? Is the state not a part of India?" the court asked.
National Food Security Act, (NFSA) 2013
National Food Security Act, 2013 places an obligation on states to provide 5 kg of food grains per person (the beneficiaries of PDS) per month at a subsidized rate of Rs. 2-3 per kg.
SC issues notice to Center, drought-hit states
The Supreme Court sought the response of Centre and eight drought-hit states on a plea seeking direction to make available free food-grains guaranteed under National Food Security Act to all those affected. The court was hearing the PIL filed by Swaraj Abhiyan. Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for Swaraj Abhiyan, said that the National Food Security Act has not yet been implemented in many states.
What is Swaraj Abhiyan?
Swaraj Abhiyan is a political movement started by former AAP leader Yogender Yadav and Prashant Bhushan. The organization claims to want to transform ideology into reality and to achieve swaraj in all aspects of life - political, economic, social and cultural.
What does the PIL say?
Swaraj Abhiyan's PIL alleged that parts of states like UP, Karnataka, MP, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, Haryana and Chattisgarh have been hit by drought and authorities were not providing adequate relief. It sought SC's intervention for implementation of Food Security Act, provision for pulses and edible oils to the affected families, eggs and milk for children, etc, in these areas.
PIL also seeks compensation for farmers
The PIL had also sought adequate and timely compensation for crop loss and input subsidy for the next crop to the farmers affected by drought and subsidised cattle fodder for animals.
SC asks for information on welfare schemes
Supreme Court asked the Centre to provide information on the current status of welfare schemes like MGNREGA, National Food Security and mid-day meal in 12 drought-hit states across the country. The court had also asked Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the Centre as to whether those affected were being provided the minimum required employment and food or not.
The Supreme Court's order
The SC bench comprising justices Madan. B. Lokur and R.K. Agarwal directed Centre to respond in an affidavit, whether it was permissible for a state to not follow the Food Security Act. The Center would be required to respond by 12 February. The apex court also ordered Centre to provide information on the parameters followed by Gujarat, Bihar and Haryana to declare themselves drought-hit.