Family size can be basis for subsidised food quota: Court

New Delhi, Nov 11 (IANS) The Supreme Court Thursday asked the central government to consider if the distribution of food grains under the targeted public distribution system (TPDS) for below poverty line (BPL) people could be based on the number of members in a family holding a ration card.

‘You can’t give 35 kg of food grains to a family of 10 members and the same amount of food grains to a family of two,’ said the apex court bench of Justice Dalveer Bhandari and Justice Deepak Verma.

The court told Attorney General G. Vahanvati that if the government wanted to universalize the public distribution system (PDS) then it should consider capping income limit on the beneficiaries who are above poverty line (APL).

The court said that maximum pilferage of food grains happened in the APL category as they were not interested in picking up their entire allocation of ration.

The court wanted the government to answer the question if it was considering computerizing the entire PDS. Computerization of the PDS was recommended by court while pointing to huge corruption in the entire chain culminating in sale at retail.

The court asked the government to consider if state warehousing corporations could be entrusted with the PDS responsibility instead of the existing system of individual shopkeepers running the food grains distribution outlets.

The court asked the government to respond if it could keep the PDS shops open for five to six days in a week instead of existing practice of opening PDS shops for five to six days a month.

The court said that it would help people pick up their allocation of ration as and when they want.

The court asked the Attorney General Vahanvati to respond to its above queries and fixed Dec 1 as next date of hearing.

Responding to earlier court queries, the government told the court that it was taking all the steps for augmenting the storage capacity for food grains.

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