SC pushes for PDS reforms, asks govt to act

The Supreme Court Friday asked the Centre to consider "administratively reform" the Public Distribution System (PDS) by implementing recommendations of the National Food Security Bill and court-mandated Central Vigilance Committee so that foodgrains reach the beneficiaries.

"There is a need for effective measures to streamline the entire PDS and there is an uncertainty when the Bill will become a law. Why cannot you, pending the legislation, provide the same structure in the interregnum. Can you administratively and from the executive point of view bring the suggestions as the Bill envisages? The Bill has given a road map for the future. You administratively provide some structure instead of we giving some directions," a Bench led by Justice T S Thakur asked Attorney General G E Vahanvati.

The Bench said some states were effectively ensuring that foodgrains reach the real beneficiaries by distribution only through government shops or corporations or registered women's self-help groups. The court said the Centre should consider putting in place an arrangement where states are directed to have one of the modes of distribution.

The AG sought time to come back with a reply if an interim arrangement could be put in place. The Bench then posted the matter for March 4.

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