The governments of Delhi, Goa and Maharashtra spent the least per day on three meals given to a prisoner in 2015, much lower than the national average of Rs 52.42, data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) has shown.
With the Bombay High Court recently directing the Maharashtra government to take steps to improve living standards of prisoners, the Maharashtra government on Tuesday decided to appoint a three-member committee in each district to monitor the condition of food in the state’s jails.
The district-level committees will comprise a nutritionist and two social workers — a man and a woman. They will visit prisons at least once a month and monitor the quality and quantity of food provided to prisoners. The committee will give its feedback to the government, which will then make changes based on the recommendations.
Delhi and Goa spent even lesser than Maharashtra and Gujarat a shade better.
Nagaland topped the country in the expenditure on prisoner’s food, spending Rs 139.22 per prisoner per day. It was closely followed by Jammu and Kashmir, which spent Rs 110.33 per prisoner per day.
The Model Prison Manual drafted by the Union Home Ministry prescribes that a male prisoner should have a calorie intake between 2,320 and 2,730 kcal/day. For female prisoners, it is prescribed to be between 1900 to 2830 kcal/day.
Since prison administration is a federal subject, every state has the right to decide its menu, provided that it adheres to the nutritional requirements laid down by the model prison manual.
The Maharashtra government’s decision to oversee prison food comes in the wake of directives given by the high court in March while it was hearing a PIL filed by NGO Jan Adalat — Centre of Para-Legal Services and Legal Aid.
According to the NCRB data, the Indian state spent Rs 52.42 in 2015 on three meals to a prisoner daily, as prescribed in the prison manual.
The Maharashtra government spent a total of Rs 84.76 crore in 2015 on the upkeep of its prisoners. Of this, Rs 37.04 crore, nearly 44 per cent, was spent on the food of the inmates. Every prisoner is allowed to receive between Rs 1,500 and Rs 2,200 per month from his family which he can spend in jail canteen.