What We Do
The Commissioners are appointed to track side-by-side hunger and the implementation of interim orders relevant to the Right to Food Case across the country. Their mandates are entrenched in orders dated 8th May 2002 and 29th October 2002. The former empowers them to investigate violations of interim orders related to the case and demand redress, while, the latter extends their authority to monitoring and reporting the implementation status of said orders to the Supreme Court and conducting inquiry to respective government authorities on their efforts in placing the orders functional.
Explicitly, the broad and complex authority of the Commissioners are carried out through but not limited to the following: a) analysis of state performance using macro data; b) rigorous participatory research; c) respond to emergencies; d) ensure the functioning of an effective micro-level grievance redress system; (e) ensure dissemination of information by State Governments; f) articulate alternative demands regarding state policy especially on hunger; g) prepare periodic state reports; h) establish a permanent monitoring mechanism for hunger-related issues and; i) ensure accountability for failures of state functionaries. The Secretariat, located in Delhi, serves as their “working hands” in performing aforementioned functions.
The Commissioners get support from its Assistant and Nodal Officer appointed by State Government’s Chief Secretary, with their concurrence. The Assistant is mandated to render support to the Commissioners while, the Nodal Officer is appointed to make state records accessible and information available to the Commissioners, as they require.
The Commissioners also seek the assistance of individuals in its work. A State Adviser is nominated in every state. The Advisers essentially serve as bridge in Commissioners work with State Governments and local citizens’ groups. Specifically, they perform the following functions: a) sending periodic report to the Commissioners; b) conducting inquiries in response to local complaints; c) sending appeals to the Commissioners for intervention whenever required; d) organizing conduct of research and surveys; e) working towards a more effective monitoring and redress system and; f) liaising with State Governments in behalf of the Commissioners. The role of Advisers is not rigid and specific, and their activities are wide-ranging.
Broadly, with the assistance of these people, the Commissioners get hold steady information channels: major stakeholders concerned with the litigation of the Right to food Case in few states are accessed and grassroots “real” concerns are filtered through them. These concerns form as knowledge-base which facilitates the Commissioners monitoring likewise stakeholders’ compliance with the interim orders on the case and drawing out informed policy decisions to improve (in a vacuum) delivery of services to the poor, the marginalized, and the disadvantage as envisioned by the Supreme Court.