The Food Security programme will be the biggest in the world with the government spending an estimated Rs125,000 crore annually on supply of about 62 million tonnes of rice, wheat and coarse cereals to 67% of the population
President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday signed the ordinance on Food Security to give the nation’s two-third population the right to get 5 kg of foodgrain every month at highly subsidised rates of Re1-Rs3 per kg.
Mukherjee cleared the ordinance, which was received by the President's Secretariat last night, ending speculation that he may not be in a rush to give his nod in the wake of strong reservations over its present form expressed by BJP, Left and some other major parties.
The Food Security programme will be the biggest in the world with the government spending an estimated Rs125,000 crore annually on supply of about 62 million tonnes of rice, wheat and coarse cereals to 67% of the population.
The Cabinet, which had last month deferred a decision on the issue following differences within, had approved promulgation of an ordinance to implement the Food Security Bill on Wednesday.
The Ordinance comes just weeks before the scheduled Monsoon session of Parliament and political parties demanding that the Food Security Bill be debated in both Houses before being passed.
Left parties attacked the government for taking the ordinance route saying the UPA-II has shown contempt for Parliament while BJP termed it an “election gimmick” saying the Congress was running away from a debate in the House.
Samajwadi Party, a key outside supporter of UPA, also sharply opposed promulgation of the ordinance saying it was undemocratic and the programme would derail the food economy.
The Ordinance will have to be approved by both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha within six months of promulgation.
The measure will guarantee 5 kg of rice, wheat and coarse cereals per month per person at a fixed price of Rs3, Rs2 and Re1, respectively,
However, about 2.43 crore poorest of the poor families covered under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) scheme under the PDS (Public Distribution System) would continue to get 35 kg of foodgrain per family per month but with legal entitlement.
Few select criminals usurped plots allotted to the poor in Palam village near Delhi under the 20-point program. The CIC directed the divisional commissioner to check if any FIR has been filed in this case or not. This is the 128th in a series of important judgements given by former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi that can be used or quoted in an RTI application
The Central Information Commission (CIC), while allowing an appeal, directed the divisional commissioner of Delhi to provide information about filing a first information report (FIR) in the house site allotment scam in Palam village near Delhi.
While giving this judgement on 17 September 2009, Shailesh Gandhi, the then Central Information Commissioner said, “It appears that most plots which were to be allotted to the poor were usurped by a few select criminals. The divisional commissioner will see if any FIR has been lodged in this scandal and give information to the appellant and the Commission.”
Badiyal (Palam, New Delhi) resident Ratan Singh Solanki, on 13 April 2009, sought information about allotment of 20-point programme residential plots in 1984 at Palam Village from the Public Information Officer (PIO) of Block Development Office. Here is the information he sought under the Right to Information (RTI) Act...
1. When will BDO be the custodian of these records so that the poor will get rid of frauds
2. What steps have been taken till now in matching the records of these residential plots from ex-pradhan Mr Ishwar Singh of Palam Village?
3. Copy of the FIR lodged against this corrupt pradhan.
4. Copy of the FIR lodged against BDO(S-W) concerned.
In his reply the PIO mentioned that the required information was enclosed, however, there was no copy in the file.
Since Solanki did not receive any response from the PIO, he filed his first appeal. In his order, the First Appellate Authority (FAA) stated, “the PIO was said to have called requisite information from block development officer-BDO (South West). He had gone through the application before the PIO and the information provided to the appellant. Since the information as available on record it had been provided.”
With this remarks, the FAA disposed the appeal. Solanki then approached the CIC with his second appeal mentioning that he sought information only on four queries, but not a single query had been answered.
During the hearing, Mr Gandhi, the then CIC, noted that the appellant (Solanki) had been pursuing the matter of allotment of house sites in village Palam under the 20-point program. “From his (Solanki’s) deposition and papers that he has shown before the Commission, it appears that most plots which were to be allotted to the poor were usurped by a few select criminals,” the CIC noted.
Solanki also produced an order given by Ashwini Kumar, the deputy commissioner at South West Delhi District on 24 January 2002, which stated that only 15% of the persons were found in the possession of their plots. It also mentioned an order to register criminal cases against the unscrupulous elements that cheated the public persons and defrauded the government.
Mr Gandhi said, “The information provided to the appellant indicates that only a very weak letter was sent in 2007 to register a case against the then BDO.”
While allowing the appeal, the Commission ordered the divisional commissioner to see if any FIR had been lodged in this scandal. “If so he will provide a copy of this to the appellant. If no FIR has been lodged he will state this with reasons if any,” the CIC said in its order.
CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION
Decision No. CIC/SG/A/2009/001823/4842
Appeal No. CIC/SG/A/2009/001823
Appellant : Ratan Singh Solanki,
Badiyal, Via PO-Palam,
Respondent : Public Information Officer
Office of the PIO/ADM(South-West)
Old Terminal Tax Building,
Kapashera, New Delhi-110037