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HC pulls up Maha govt over rise in BPL population

Bombay High Court

Mumbai: Raising concerns over the increase in population below poverty line in Maharashtra, the Bombay High Court today asked the state government the reasons behind the same and if those people are getting benefits under schemes formulated for them.

A division bench of Justices N H Patil and V L Achliya was hearing a PIL claiming that people living below poverty line are not given foodgrains and subsidised food products, as prescribed in schemes formulated by the government.

The court was today informed that according to the 2001 census, there were 65 lakh people living below poverty line in the state, which increased to 1.77 crore in the census of 2011.

“What are the reasons behind the alarming rise in below poverty line population? What is the state doing to address the issue? Have you (government) conducted any socio-economic study?” the court queried.

The petitioner’s advocate Gayatri Singh informed the court that the Food Securities Act, 2013, makes it mandatory for a State Food Commission to be set up to look into these issues. However, till date the government has not done so and set up only an adhoc committee under the chairmanship of the Principal Secretary of the state food and civil supplies ministry.

She argued that from November 2014, the government has discontinued benefits given under the schemes to people living below the poverty line.

The bench asked the state government to respond within two weeks to the allegations.

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