Canteens to provide cheap yet nutritious meals to the poor was among the real ‘aam aadmi’ proposals in Delhi finance minister Manish Sisodia’s budget that the presented on Monday.
Akin to the ‘Amma Canteens’, which were started by Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa, the Delhi editions of the initiative will be implemented by a special organisation -- Bureau of Affordable Meals. Finance Minister Sisodia has allocated a budget of R10 crore annually for the initiative. The bureau will run canteens where people will be able to eat hygienic food at affordable rates.
“It is proposed to start Aam Aadmi canteens in Delhi for proving nutritious and hygienic food, at low prices, to citizens, particularly the poor and down trodden who find it difficult to have a proper meal, like rickshaw pullers, daily wage labourers, construction workers,” Sisodia announced in his budget speech.
Opening Aam Aadmi canteens was one of the major poll promises of the AAP. Conceding that the idea has been borrowed from some others states where similar scheme have been implemented successfully , Sisodia said the bureau will be set up to monitor and coordinate the functioning of these canteens.
Experts welcomed the move and said this plan will help in making Delhi a hunger-free city. “Countries such as Brazil have been running such programmes in which canteens sell food to the working class. This is a much-needed step to eradicate hunger,” said Biraj Patnaik, principal adviser to the commissioners of the Supreme Court in the Right to Food case.
NC Saxena, former member of the Planning Commission, said, “This is a good idea as a large number of people go hungry in the city. It will also help in providing nutritious food.”
Last year, the government had announced setting up of ‘Aam Aadmi Canteens’ after it cleared a proposal on the same by Delhi Dialogue Commission (DDC). The DDC was set by the government to work on seventy poll promises made by the party in its manifesto.