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Let mid-day meal scheme be with Centre: SC
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 16
The Supreme Court today restrained the Centre from handing over the administration of the mid-day meal scheme to the states and Union Territories. However, the implementation of the scheme would continue to be in the hands of the states and UTs.

An interim order to this effect was passed by a Bench comprising Mr Justice Y.K. Sabharwal, Mr Justice D.M. Dharmadhikari and Mr Justice Tarun Chatterjee while hearing a petition filed by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) pointing out starvation deaths and non-implementation of social schemes.

The PIL had stated that starvation deaths were taking place in the country even the godowns of the Food Corporation of India were overflowing with foodgrains and appealed for a direction for the implementation of the social welfare schemes for the rural poor.

The Bench said “Till further orders, the Union Government shall not transfer the mid-day meal scheme to the state governments.” However, it clarified that this interim order in no way would hamper the flow of funds from the Centre and the implementation of the scheme by the states.

To another report on “Starvation” death of 23 children of the “sahariya” tribe in Baran district of Rajasthan in August, the Supreme Court asked the state government to respond as to how it was planning to implement its recently announced schemes to help the tribe.

Appearing for the petitioner, senior advocate Colin Gonsalves said the court appointed commission, going into the implementation of the various social schemes, had pointed out mismanagement of the funds allocated under them.

The court also asked all States to respond by Oct 1 to the fifth report of the commission to the court on the implementation of the social schemes and posted the matter for further hearing on October 7.

The court said that the states of UP, Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Assam, Rajasthan, MP, Manipur and Delhi had to ensure filing of their response to the report as they had been listed as the defaulting ones.

On the alleged starvation deaths in Baran district, the Rajasthan Government had yesterday announced a package to give at least 100 days’ employment to one member from each Sahariya family.


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