The Chhattisgarh High Court has dismissed the petitions filed by women self-help groups (SHGs) challenging the state government’s order to transfer to the Seed Corporation the task of production and distribution of ready-to-eat nutritional food under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme.
A single bench of Justice RCS Samant heard the writ petitions filed by about 285 SHGs and had reserved its order on April 6, which was delivered on Thursday, state’s Advocate General Satish Chandra Verma said on Friday.
In its order, the high court said, ”The writ petitions filed are without any substance, hence, all the petitions in this bunch are dismissed accordingly.” On November 26 last year, the state government had ordered that the manufacturing and supply of the Take Home Ration (THR), which was being carried out by women SHGs, shall be taken over by the Chhattisgarh State Agro Seed and Agriculture Development Corporation in the interest of children and pregnant women.
The state government had decided to prepare the ready-to-eat meal at a centralized place through the manufacturing unit of the seed corporation located in the Raigarh district. For operating the unit, a joint venture – Chhattisgarh Agro Food Corporation Limited – was set up in which the seed corporation has a share of 26 percent, while the remaining share of 74 percent is owned by a private firm.
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The SHGs then filed writ petitions challenging the state government’s decision.
During the hearing, Ravindra Shrivastava, counsel for the seed corporation submitted that the targeted group of ICDS scheme are the beneficiaries and not the providers, thus the ICDS is not a guarantee for employment.
”None of the Supreme Court judgments ensure employment guarantee for the SHGs. Quality nourishment has to be the prime concern and by the change of time, advancement has to be promoted and the old system, which is regressive, has to be given up,” he said.