Food minister Sharad Pawar said on Thursday that it was unfeasible to distribute state-held grain for free, a non-binding suggestion made by the Supreme Court.
On August 12, hearing an ongoing public-interest petition, which quoted extensively from an HT report (India lets grain rot instead of feeding poor, July 26), maintaining that wheat was rotting for lack of proper storage, the court had said the government should consider releasing free grain as a “short-term measure”.
India provides 35 kg of grain a month for Rs 4.15, substantially below the market price, to the 60 million families identified as “below poverty line”. Of this, 2 million families, counted as “poorest of the poor”, get grain at Rs 2.
“The Supreme Court’s suggestion (for free grain) is not possible to implement,” Pawar said. India posted its highest wheat yield in 2009-10 at 80.71 million tonnes, but lacks warehouses to store all of it.