The Centre informed the Supreme Court on Thursday that it would soon put in place the National Food Security legislation after taking into consideration the recommendations of the National Advisory Council. This law would address the court's concerns over making foodgrains allotment to the States.
Attorney-General G. E. Vahanvati told a Bench of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and Deepak Verma that pending enactment of the legislation, a committee was constituted to monitor the creation of storage capacity, and for prudent management of the grain stock with the Centre.
He said that in terms of the 1993-94 poverty estimates, the number of additional BPL families, on the basis of the 2010 population estimates, worked out to 1.17 crore, and not seven crore as stated by the petitioner PUCL.
In its affidavit, the Centre said: “For the increase of 1.17 crore BPL families between 2000 and 2010, the additional requirement of foodgrains at 35 kg a family a month works out to 4.09 tonnes a month. As per the directions of the Supreme Court, the government has already made an additional ad-hoc allocation of 2.5 million tonnes for six months, which works out to 4.17 lakh tonnes per month.”
At this juncture, Justice Bhandari asked Mr. Vahanvati to consider the petitioner's suggestion that the Centre make a one-time allocation of 20 million tonnes more, given the buffer stock of 55 million tonnes of grain.
At the last hearing, the court wanted Mr. Vahanvati to take instructions on whether the 150 poorest districts in the country could also be given the same amount of grain as distributed to the BPL population.
On this, the affidavit said the NAC had recommended subsidised grain to every family of the 150 poorest districts, but no recommendation was given for their special coverage.
Justice Bhandari told Mr. Vahanvati that since the affidavit did not touch on many other issues, he should file another affidavit and posted the matter for December 1.