Supreme Court says free distribution of foodgrains an order, not a suggestion

New Delhi, Aug.31 (ANI): The Supreme Court of India on Tuesday asserted that it had ordered free distribution of foodgrains to the poor instead of allowing them to rot in godowns, and added that it was not a suggestion as made out by Union Agricultural Minister Sharad Pawar.

"It was not a suggestion. It is there in our order. You tell the Minister," the court told the government counsel. ustices Dalveer Bhandari and Deepak Verma clarified that they had passed an order, not an observation as was being made out in newspaper reports quoting Pawar.

Pawar had said, "The Supreme Court's suggestion (for free distribution) is not possible to implement." The apex court in an order directed the Union government to conduct a fresh survey of the BPL/ABPL/AAY beneficiaries on the basis of the figures available for 2010 and said the authorities cannot rely on a decade-old data to extend the benefits.

The government must take urgent steps to prevent further rotting of food grains while maintaining that it must procure only that much quantity which it can preserve, the two-judge bench said.

The bench reiterated its earlier order that persons above the poverty line shall not be entitled to subsidised foodgrains, but if the government was determined to extend the benefit, the same shall be given to those families whose annual income is below Rs three lakhs. (ANI)

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