The Delhi government’s ambitious scheme to give financial assistance of Rs. 600 per month to vulnerable households under the Annshree Yojana and bring them under the ambit of food security seems to have hit a roadblock.
Although the scheme was launched for two lakh vulnerable families who do not get three essential food items — wheat, rice and sugar — at subsidised rates under the public distribution system from the government’s fair price shops, the government has so far managed to identify about only 32,000 families.
Senior officials accept the number is likely to touch just about 50,000 by end of this year.
According to senior officials in the government, the department of food and civil supplies has refused to extend the scheme to families which are “vulnerable” but hold stamped ration cards given to above poverty line (APL) families, which entitle them to food items from the FPS at almost the market price.
Unlike BPL and Antodaya Ann Yojana card holders, these families get very little subsidy on food items.
“There are about 1.2 lakh such families which were initially covered under the Annshree Yojana. The subsidy that they get on food items is minimal and they pay almost the market rate to get wheat, rice and sugar from fair price shops. Most of these families do not even go to the FPS,” said a senior Delhi government official.
While the department is scurrying to identify and bring more such vulnerable families under the ambit of food security, the legislators have asked the chief minister to leave the onus of identifying vulnerable families and bringing them under the Annshree scheme.
Sources said with the Assembly elections just a few months away, MLAs are trying to convert the opportunity presented by the scheme into votes. They have requested the chief minister for 2000 Annshree forms each.
“The problem is who will ensure that the families identified these MLAs would actually meet the criteria laid for this scheme. Even the chief minister herself is little apprehensive about it. No final decision has been taken in this regard,” a senior Delhi government official said.
Food and civil supplies minister Haroon Yusuf could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.