The Delhi government’s ration at doorstep scheme will involve packing “processed and cleaned” wheat and rice into bags labelled with manufacturing and expiry dates, and delivery through field agents after biometric verification of beneficiaries.
Three months after Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced the scheme, the Delhi State Civil Supplies Corporation (DSCCC) has taken the first step towards its implementation by floating a tender to engage agencies for transportation, processing, packaging and delivery of packed rice for distribution.
A separate tender is likely to be issued to rope in agencies to deliver wheat flour instead of wheat, which requires milling. Once launched, all 17.54 lakh ration card holding families — totalling 71.6 lakh PDS beneficiaries — in Delhi will have the option of availing the doorstep scheme, which has been named Mukhya Mantri Ghar-Ghar Ration Yojana.
According to the plan drawn up by the government, an agency will be tasked with lifting wheat and rice from the godowns of the Food Corporation of India (FCI). The wheat will be processed into wheat flour before distribution, while the rice will be cleaned of straws, stones, jute bag thread, mud or other impurities and foreign substances.
There are seven FCI godowns across Delhi that store 75,114.24 quintal of rice for PDS beneficiaries in the city. Apart from rice, 2.91 lakh quintal wheat and 684.68 quintal sugar are stored.
“The scheme is aimed to make quality ration available at the doorstep of the beneficiary in a packaged form to ensure that the right quality and quantity is being received. The packaged quantity will have all kinds of information related to the processing/manufacturing and expiry of the commodity mentioned in the packet. This scheme is expected to be launched for all the districts of Delhi simultaneously,” the tender says.
The cleaned and packed food grains will then be delivered to the agency which will be in charge of home delivery “as per the agreed schedule” between the two agencies.
“The packaged wheat flour and rice will then be distributed at the doorstep (direct to home) of the beneficiary by a DHD agent appointed by the department. The beneficiary will be informed 24 hours in advance for convenience, and the distribution will take place based on the biometric verification of the beneficiary,” according to the tender document.
The distribution of ration in Delhi is currently managed by a network of 2,014 fair price shops.
The doorstep scheme was one of the major poll promises of the AAP in the run up to this year’s assembly polls.
To prevent theft and pilferage, the agency in charge of processing and packaging will have to transport the food grains to delivery agents in vehicles fitted with CCTVs and GPS for recording and monitoring. CCTVs will also have to be installed at the processing and packaging centres and the government will have access to the live feed.
The bags will come in sizes of 1 kg, 2 kg, 3 kg and 5 kg in four various colours. They will be stamped with details such as nutritional information, date of manufacture, expiry date, date of packaging, and customer care numbers among others.
The AAP government’s attempt to launch the scheme in 2018 was stalled by Lt-Governor Anil Baijal, who had advised the elected government to refer the matter to the Union government with full details before taking a final decision, saying due diligence was needed before rolling out a scheme that directly impacts the weakest sections of the society.
The Finance Department had also raised red flags, saying home delivery of ration will only replace one set of human intervention with another in the form of service providers and their agents.
Later, Kejriwal, along with his Cabinet colleagues, had led a nine-day sit-in inside Baijal’s office over a host of issues, including the L-G’s position on the ration issue.
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