Opposing the scheme of giving cash in lieu of subsidised food grains under the Public Distribution System (PDS), several NGOs — under the Rozi Roti Adhikar Abhiyan — plan to take out a yatra, a campaign rally from Tuesday to demand a universal National Food Security Act.
The government is running a pilot project in west Delhi wherein about 100 eligible families are given Rs 1,000 cash per month instead of subsidised food grains.
The campaigners — after a ground level survey — have opposed the cash transfer, as they believe that the family will have no control over the spending once they get the cash in hand. Moreover, the rate of Rs 1,000 per family may not be in sync with the market rate, they claimed.
The direct cash transfer can have other ramifications too, warned experts. "A strong PDS ensures that food prices in the open market are controlled. With prices spiralling daily, there is no control on the prices in the open market," said Vandana Prasad of the Right to Food Campaign.
The yatra is aimed at spreading a word about the proposed change vis-à-vis the need to discuss it with people who will be directly affected.
The yatra campaign — from September 6 to 24 — will travel through all the districts of Delhi. “We plan to organise meetings at each venue with songs and skits to raise awareness during the yatra, said Anjali Bhardwaj, one of the campaigners.
Chief minister Sheila Dikshit, however, said that nothing was finalised about the direct cash transfer scheme. Dikshit told HT, "This is not final. We will take a call only after November-December."