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SC for Centre’s reply on food security for drought-hit states

Supreme court

New Delhi : The Supreme Court today asked the Centre to file its reply on a plea seeking all states to ensure food security for drought-affected rural population till the end of calamity or till six months.

A bench headed by Justice M B Lokur asked Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar to file the response till March 30 after he submitted that the prayers have been revised by the petitioner.

“You file your response to the revised prayers and matter be listed for further hearing on March 30,” a bench also comprising Justice N V Ramana said.

The Solicitor General informed the bench that some states have not filed their responses regarding the steps taken in these drought-hit states in compliance with the directions of of the court.

Petitioner NGO Swaraj Abhiyan, in its revised prayer, also sought direction to Centre to abide by the provisions of MNREGA Act and use it for employment generation in drought- affected areas.

The plea also sought that “the Reserve Bank of India and the States to ensure that the scheduled banks as well as the non-scheduled banks restructure the crop loans and other outstanding loans of the drought-affected farmers…”

On January 22, the Centre had informed the apex court that agriculture secretaries of 12 drought-hit states will be meeting in Delhi to discuss steps to be taken to provide relief to farmers and others affected.

The court had asked the Centre to apprise it about the current status of welfare schemes like MGNREGA, National Food Security and mid-day meal in the 12 drought-hit states across the country.

The PIL filed by the NGO has alleged that parts of 12 states of Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, Haryana and Chattisgarh were hit by drought and the authorities were not providing adequate relief.

The Centre had told the apex court that these state have been provided financial aid from State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF) and the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF).

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