To weed out corruption in the Public Distribution System (PDS), the Delhi government had decided to introduce cash for subsidy scheme in the Capital.
Delhi Food and Civil Supplies Minister Haroon Yusuf said the scheme would initially be launched from the central district of the Capital as a pilot project and later implemented across the National Capital Region.
Over 14 lakh people living above poverty line (APL) and three lakh living below poverty line (BPL) including 89,000 Antodaya (poorest of the poor) will benefit from the programme, he said.
Accepting that essential commodities like cereals, sugar and kerosene, which are distributed through PDS, often get diverted to the open market the minister said the scheme would ensure that the deserving lot gets it at a subsidised rate.
“The government will open bank accounts for people covered under APL and BPL and instead of giving food subsidies under PDS, their accounts will be credited with cash. The cardholders will be able to buy those essential commodities from the open market with their cards. The amount to be credited in their accounts will be calculated on the basis of total subsidy a family enjoys on food items under the PDS scheme,” he added.
“It will make the entire PDS system transparent and will also put a stop on the problem of bogus and multiple ration cards.” According to senior Delhi government officials, the scheme is in line with the central government’s observations that food items under PDS were actually getting diverted to hoarders and the mafia.
“There are technologies, swipe machines and tokens already available. We just have to decide which technology to be used in this system. The officials are already working out the modalities and we hope to introduce the scheme soon after the Lok Sabha elections,” the minister said.