Coronavirus Update: Kejriwal brings half of Delhi under free ration scheme

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByHT Correspondent
Apr 21, 2020 07:08 PM IST

Arvind Kejriwal has extended the free ration scheme for poor people started to mitigate the impact of coronavirus, to another 30 lakh residents without ration cards.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kerjiwal on Tuesday promised free ration to additional 30 lakh poor residents in the capital who do not have ration cards till the time they continue to reel under the economic impact of the global pandemic. The announcement took the total number of beneficiaries under the free ration scheme to 1 crore-- almost half of the city’s total population.

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Kejriwal didn’t specify the period till which the temporary relief will last but added that the provision was part of his government’s effort to provide the residents with food security during the outbreak.

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“As long as the impact of coronavirus lasts and the poor are unable to earn their bread, we will ensure their food security. We have a plan in place. 71 lakh people have already been given 7.5 kg of rations. Government has now decided to distribute free ration to another 30 lakh people,” he said.

He said the decision to include another 30 lakh people was taken on Tuesday.

The AAP government, he said, also decided to provide a kit to all beneficiaries containing items of daily needs besides the ration.

“Every family with ration card and also those with e-coupons will be given a basic kit of provisions of daily needs including cooking oil, spices, pulses, sugar, salt, soap etc, along with their ration for the month of May when distribution begins at the end of April,” Kejriwal said.

In another welfare measure aimed to cover several other temporary migrant workers who may not figure in the above two categories of the poor people, Kejriwal announced a food coupon scheme, which he said will be delivered through the people’s representative of the state.

Under the coupon scheme, every MP and MLA representing the city-state will be given 2000 food coupons each to be distributed among the temporary migrant workers, who do not have either ration cards or e-coupons. The food coupons will make them eligible for receiving 5 kg of free ration. Delhi has 70 MLAs- 62 from AAP and 8 from the BJP—and 7 MPs—all from the BJP.

The HT Guide to Coronavirus COVID-19

Providing the latest official figures, Kejriwal said that a total of 2081 coronavirus positive cases were reported in Delhi till Monday night. Over 20% of total patients—431 in absolute numbers-- have recovered so far while 47 people have lost their lives due to the virus. The number of active Covid-19 cases in Delhi stood at 1603, he said.

Kejriwal said that 80% of all deceased were over 50 years of age and 83% of all the coronavirus casualties had co-morbidities.

“Those with co-morbidity make 83% of all coronavirus fatalities. Coronavirus worsens an existing medical condition like sugar, heart, cancer etc. Elderly people must be taken good care of and they must maintain social distancing measures,” he said.

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