March 25, 2021 4:48:36 am
The Delhi government Wednesday rolled back its decision to implement the proposed doorstep delivery of ration scheme under the name ‘Mukhya Mantri Ghar Ghar Ration Yojna’, but the Centre indicated that the logjam persists over other provisions such as conversion charges.
According to the initial plan drawn up by the Delhi government, the doorstep delivery agents were expected to wear t-shirts on which the name ‘Mukhya Mantri Ghar Ghar Ration Yojana (MMGGRY)’ would be written. The Centre had pointed out that such a nomenclature may lead to a situation where people would start “misinterpreting” benefits under the National Food Security Act as state government benefits.
The Centre had also made it clear that foodgrains allocated under the National Food Security Act cannot be used for a policy drawn up at the local level.
The Union Food Secretary also questioned one of the components of the proposed scheme which involves collection milling/conversion charges from beneficiaries. The Delhi government has not yet made public the charges.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Union Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey said, “The (MMGGRY) notification says that cost of subsidised foodgrains, which is subsidised by the Government of India, and a specified amount as milling/conversion charges will be collected from the beneficiaries. It means that this charge will be decided by contractor… How much of that will you collect from the beneficiary… One does not know what the cost of delivery is.”
According to the notification of the doorstep scheme, millers empanelled with the Delhi State Civil Supplies Corporation Ltd (DSCSC) will be tasked with lifting wheat and rice from the godowns of the Food Corporation of India (FCI). The wheat will be processed into flour before distribution by doorstep agents, while the rice will be cleaned of impurities.
Pandey pointed out that under the NFSA, states cannot charge higher prices from the beneficiaries for the foodgrains.
Pandey also questioned the provision under which every beneficiary will have to annually inform the authorities whether they want to remain under its ambit or return to the previous arrangement of collecting directly from ration shops.
“In Delhi, residential address changes very often due to change in employment, residence and other reasons. I can decide whether I want to draw the ration from X place or Y place. If I cannot change my option at the beginning of the year, it becomes a very tricky situation,” he said.
He said the Delhi government had been told clearly that they could make their own scheme and run it, not mutate the existing scheme.
The distribution of ration in Delhi is currently managed by a network of 2,005 fair price shops. Under the NFSA, approximately 17.77 lakh ration card holding families in Delhi are divided into three categories —15.12 lakh priority households (PR), 1.73 lakh priority state households (PRS), and 68,468 Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) families.
The beneficiaries coming under the PR and PRS categories are entitled to 5 kg of foodgrains per month while AAY households receive 25 kg wheat, 10 kg rice and 1 kg sugar.
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