Supreme Court strikes down Rs 6,300-cr food contracts -Sandeep A Ashar
-The Indian Express
Pankaja Munde’s ministry accused of tweaking tender norms to favour big players and industrialists.
Mumbai: IN FRESH trouble for the Devendra Fadnavis government, the Supreme Court (SC) has struck down tenders worth Rs 6,300 crore issued in 2016 by the Maharashtra women and child development department for supplying Take Home Ration (THR) as supplementary nutrition at daycare centres or anganwadis in the state.
A bench comprising Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Deepak Gupta pronounced the order on February 26.
Even more worrying for the government in an election year would be the SC’s observations that some of the technical and financial conditions introduced by the state in the tender notice were “arbitrary” and favoured “big players and industrialists in the field” at the cost of women self-help groups (SHGs).
While setting aside the tender, the SC ordered issuance of fresh tenders within four weeks, while asking the state government to take all measures to ensure participation of SHGs involving local women. But the SC has permitted the state to make alternative arrangements to supply nutrition for the children and lactating mothers enrolled with the daycare centres in the interim period. It has, however, restrained it from relying on the current arrangement, where contracts have been awarded to three mahila mandals on the basis of the same tender.
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