Sharp differences arose in the Delhi Cabinet on Monday on providing subsidy to sale of pulses to the poor people of the city. While a section of the Cabinet wanted that no subsidy should be given, the compulsions of vote bank ahead of the MCD polls, finally led to a subsidy of Rs 1.76 crore per month on pulses.
The government would now provide the two most consumed pulses of arhar and chana at a subsidy of 25 percent to the people with Below Poverty Line (BPL), antyodaya and Jhuggi ration card holders. To be supplied through the Public Distribution System (PDS), four kg of pulses – two kg each of chana and arhar - would be given to the each family per month.
While arhar would be supplied at Rs 24.75 per kg against the present market rate of around Rs 33, chana would be sold to the card holders at Rs 27.75 per kg against the market rate of around Rs 37 per kg. There are 5.04 lakh such families in the city who are set to benefit from the new order.
The decision, however, came against the advice of the Finance Department. The Finance officials in the Cabinet note questioned the logic of extending subsidy. They pointed out that there was a possibility of pilferage and the intended beneficiaries would be left out.
In the Cabinet meeting, Finance Minister A.K. Walia is understood to have favoured a broader policy to bring down the prices in general by convening a meeting with the traders and finding out the reasons for price rise. He, however, refused to speak on the deliberations inside the Cabinet room.
Speaking to Reporters Dikshit described the move as “the commitment of her government to provide essential commodities to the economically weaker sections at reasonable rates”. The Opposition BJP, on the other hand, said it was due to the vote bank politics of the Congress before the MCD polls which led to such decisions.