PUCL Bulletin, February 2005

Case update:

Mid-day meals and Antyodaya Anna Yojana

The ongoing PUCL case before the Supreme Court regarding food programme for the poor and mid-day meal for the school children came up for hearing in the last week of November. The bench comprising JJ Y.K. Sabharwal and SH Kapadia directed that all States should provide cooked meals to students up to class V immediately, in any case not later than January 2005.

It said that even if necessary assistance was not released by the Centres, meals have to be provided saying that money could be claimed later on. The court expressed concern on the poor implementation of the mid-day meal scheme in many states including Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, etc., on the escalating cooking costs. It said that by January 2005 the scheme should be extended to all eligible children. It directed the Central Government to file affidavits on the programme and implementation of the scheme.

The court also took note of the poor implementation of Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) under with the “poorest of the poor” were to be issued a red card and entitling them to rice and wheat from the public distribution system.

The court was also informed that many people from the “primitive groups” were not yet identified under the AAY. The court directed all State Governments to identify such persons and to issue them red cards within the year 2004. It wanted the supply of food grain to these people to begin immediately after that.


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