The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre to consider preparing a national model scheme, after getting data from the States, to combat the hunger-related issues faced by the poor through the spread of community kitchens across India.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana also sought from the Centre the latest data on starvation deaths in the country. It also said community kitchens must be opened in the States and asked the Centre to frame a model scheme for the purpose. CJI Ramana said hunger has to be satiated and the Centre has to frame a model scheme, which can be tweaked by States to suit local food habits and culture.
The Bench also observed that so many freebies are announced by political parties during the election time but no one talks of satiating hunger and eradicating malnutrition.
It asked the states to give data to the top court in two weeks about malnutrition, starvation deaths and related issues.
After Attorney General of India KK Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, told the Bench that States have reported no deaths due to starvation, the Bench asked the Centre whether it is believable that there is no starvation death in the country.
“Can we understand that there is no starvation death in the country?” CJI Ramana asked the AG.
Venugopal said it can consider giving two per cent additional food grains to States for community kitchens.
The AG said Panchayats must run community kitchens as they cover every inch of land and know the reality.
The Bench told AG Venugopal, “The hunger has to be satisfied. Poor people are on street and suffering from that. Everyone is admitting there is an issue. Take a humanitarian angle and try to find a solution. Ask your officers to apply their mind.”
The apex court was hearing a PIL seeking directions to the Centre, States and Union Territories to formulate a scheme for community kitchens to combat hunger and malnutrition.