A day after the Narendra Modi government blocked the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government’s ambitious doorstep ration delivery scheme in Delhi, which was scheduled to be launched by the chief minister on 25 March, Kejriwal today said that this scheme of his government will not have any name.
“We will accept all the conditions of the Centre but not allow any obstruction in implementation of the scheme,” Kejriwal asserted at his press conference.
The Centre yesterday asked the Delhi government not to implement the “Mukhya Mantri Ghar Ghar Ration Yojna”, saying it is “not permissible” to use subsidised food grains allotted under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) for a state scheme.
CM Kejriwal said a letter from the Centre yesterday informed them that the doorstep delivery of ration scheme cannot be named the Mukhya Mantri Ghar Ghar Ration Yojna.
“Perhaps they had objection over ‘Mukhya Mantri’ word. We are not doing this to take credit or promote our names. So now the scheme will have no name. There will be a Cabinet meeting on Monday and its proposal will be sent to the Centre,” the CM said.
Earlier in the day, he held a meeting on the issue with minister and officers of the food and civil supplies department.
“I told officials to do away with the name of this scheme. It has no name now and it is no longer a scheme. I believe this decision removes whatever objection the Centre had and now they will allow us to implement it,” he said.
The ration that earlier was distributed through shops will now be delivered to the doorstep of beneficiaries, said Kejriwal.
He asserted that it is very important for him to ensure ration delivery to the poor people of Delhi directly by removing mafia from the public distribution system (PDS).
“We dreamt of this scheme for 20-22 years and I was personally preparing for it for last 2-3 years, so our hearts sank after receiving the Centre’s objection but now we will not let any obstruction come in its way and accept all their conditions,” he said.
Kejriwal pointed out that the doorstep delivery of ration was a revolutionary scheme in view of the powerful mafia active in the field and hoped that the scheme without any name will satisfy the Centre which will have no objection now.
“My fight with the ration mafia began about 22 years ago. I used to work with the residents of slums in Nandnagari, Sundarnagari and Seemapuri, where I learnt how the people struggle to get ration,” he said.
“The ration mafia is very powerful and have strong links and they never wanted this scheme to be implemented,” the CM said.
The Delhi government came up with the idea of home delivery of ration to curb the ration mafia and remove problems faced by beneficiaries like waiting in queues, adulteration and shortchanging.
Kejriwal was scheduled to launch the scheme with doorstep delivery of ration to 100 households in Northeast Delhi’s Seemapuri on 25 March.
“We did not bring doorstep delivery of ration to take any credit. I had said this even during the Covid-19 pandemic, all the credit should be with them and all the work and responsibilities should be with us. This is our principle,” he said.
In a letter to the Delhi government yesterday, a Union food ministry official said subsidised food grains allocated by the central government for distribution under the NFSA cannot be used for operationalisation of any state-specific scheme under a different name other than the NFSA as the same is not permissible under the Act.
The central government, however, has said it will have no objection if the Delhi government comes out with a separate scheme without mixing the elements of the NFSA.
The modalities of Mukhya Mantri Ghar Ghar Ration Yojna were notified by Delhi government last month. There are about 72 lakh PDS beneficiaries in Delhi. Under the scheme, each eligible beneficiary would have been ensured doorstep delivery of ration including properly packaged wheat flour and rice following their biometric verification.
~With inputs from PTI~