Delhi govt drops name of ration delivery scheme, Centre points out flaw

However, the Centre hinted that it may not be enough to launch the scheme on March 25. The ministry on Wednesday said that prima facie the scheme appears to “dilute” the National Food Security Act (NFSA).
On Saturday, Kejriwal said the scheme, after its name being removed, will be sent to the Central government for its approval.(ANI)
On Saturday, Kejriwal said the scheme, after its name being removed, will be sent to the Central government for its approval.(ANI)
Published on Mar 25, 2021 01:02 AM IST
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By, New Delhi

The Delhi Cabinet headed by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday approved the removal of the name ‘Mukhyamantri Ghar Ghar Ration Yojana’ from its ambitious doorstep delivery of a ration scheme after objections by the Union food and consumers affairs ministry.

However, the Centre hinted that it may not be enough to launch the scheme on March 25. The ministry on Wednesday said that prima facie the scheme appears to “dilute” the National Food Security Act (NFSA).

In a letter to the Delhi administration on Friday, the Union ministry principally raised two objections to the scheme -- the use of the term “mukhyamantri (chief minister)” for a scheme involving the distribution of food grains allocated under the National Food Security Act (NFSA); and that any change in the delivery mechanism in the NFSA can only be done through a Parliament amendment.

In a statement issued by the government on Wednesday, the chief minister’s office said: “The original name of the scheme, Mukhyamantri Ghar Ghar Ration Yojana, which was expected to be rolled out on March 25, will not have any name due to the obstruction by the Centre. Under the new scheme, wheat flour atta, rice, and sugar will be delivered to homes in packed bags.”

However, DJ Narain, spokesperson for the Union ministry of food and public distribution, said dropping the name has nothing to do with the essential parameters of NFSA.

“No reply (on the letter dated March 19) from the Delhi government has been received by the Ministry so far. We are still awaiting clarity from the Delhi government on several grey areas. From their order, prima facie it seems that many aspects of the NFSA act are either being diluted or slipping into uncertain zones,” he said.

The spokesperson further asked if the additional price of milling and packaging will be recovered from consumers.

“To ensure fair and foolproof transparent delivery, biometrics are needed of the fair price shop owner and the beneficiaries. Delhi remains only one of the four states in India which is still not doing it. The other three states --- Chhattisgarh, Assam and West Bengal had valid infrastructure and Aadhaar seeding issues. But Delhi has no infrastructure problem and was one of the first states/UTs to have 100% Aadhaar seeding, yet biometric system has not been implemented in the national Capital,” said Narain.

On Saturday, Kejriwal said the scheme, after its name being removed, will be sent to the Central government for its approval.“This scheme will have no name. The central government sends the ration which gets distributed through the ration shops and now we will send the ration to the homes of the individuals. We do not want any kind of credit for this scheme and that is why the name of the scheme will be removed,” he said at a press conference.

The home delivery system of ration will be optional for beneficiaries, government officials sad. “The file is being sent to the Central government now,” the official added. In its letter to the Delhi food commissioner on Friday, the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution said the Delhi government is free to launch the scheme “without mixing the elements of the NFSA foodgrains”.

The scheme was to be launched on March 25 from 100 households in Shahdara district’s Seemapuri area. On Saturday, Kejriwal said the scheme was planned with the intention to remove loopholes in the system and address the difficulties faced by people in getting their monthly quota of ration.

Delhi has around 7.2 million ration beneficiaries, according to government data.The distribution of ration is currently managed by a network of 2,000-odd fair price shops. “At present, people can get ration only by going to a fair price shop. They have to stand in long queues or wait for shops to open as many open only for 2-3 days a month which is illegal. Then there is the problem of pilferage, adulteration and corruption. So, the doorstep delivery programme was aimed at addressing these systemic problems,” the chief minister said on Saturday.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Sweta Goswami writes on urban development, transport, energy and social welfare in Delhi. She prefers to be called a storyteller and has given voice to several human interest stories. She is currently cutting her teeth on multimedia storytelling.

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