The Delhi government Tuesday cleared a proposal to allow home delivery of ration to PDS (public distribution system) beneficiaries in the national capital, implementing one of the major promises made by AAP in the run-up to the assembly polls held earlier this year.
Making the announcement over a webcast, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the scheme will be implemented within six to seven months. Beneficiaries will have the option to choose between home delivery and the traditional way of collection from fair price shops.
There are around 2,030 fair price shops in Delhi, catering to around 17.54 lakh families, having 71 lakh beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act, 2013. Kejriwal also announced that the Centre’s ‘one nation, one ration card’ policy will also be implemented in Delhi from the day the doorstep delivery policy kicks in. The policy is aimed at making ration cards, issued by any particular state, valid across the country.
The preliminary plan suggests that delivery agents will be given e-POS devices. Beneficiaries will be expected to share their ration card number with the agents, which will be entered into the device, along with fingerprint scanning or entering Aadhaar card number.
The Delhi Food Department has already directed fair price shop owners to update the contact details and Aadhaar numbers of beneficiaries. The e-POS system, which was suspended in Delhi in April 2018 following complaints that eligible beneficiaries were being deprived of food grains due to technical glitches, is also likely to be reinstated at the shops as well.
“The decision that was taken today in the cabinet meeting is a revolutionary step. The scheme will be called ‘Mukhyamantri Ghar Ghar Ration Yojana’. Under this scheme, people will not have to go to ration shops to collect ration, but the ration will be delivered to the homes of lakhs of people in Delhi. Wheat grains will be lifted from the FCI godowns and will be taken to the wheat grinding shops to be made into flour. Flour, sugar, rice and other items will be packed properly and will be delivered,” Kejriwal said.
In April this year, the Delhi government had launched doorstep delivery of ration across the city’s containment zones.
“We are expecting this scheme to be implemented within six to seven months because there will be tendering and hiring of consultants before it is rolled out. The central government’s ‘one nation, one ration card’ scheme will be implemented on the same day as when the doorstep delivery scheme will be implemented.
“This scheme of the central government says that there should be one ration card for all. For instance, if somebody lives in West Bengal or Bihar, and he comes to Delhi in search of a job and work, his ration card for that state must be valid in Delhi as well. Personally, I am glad that this scheme has been approved and will be launched in Delhi, because before entering politics Manish Sisodia and I used to run an NGO called Parivartan. We used to work for the welfare of people living in slums and fight for the rights of the poor people in Delhi. We used to struggle and fight for people to get ration. We fought for the RTI, and the RTI Act was implemented, and we used the RTI Act to enable people to obtain ration,” he added.
When Kejriwal and Sisodia, were running the NGO, ration distribution in Sundar Nagri was among the biggest campaigns they led. Using RTI applications, they accessed records from ration shops and found up to 90% pilferage in many cases. On Twitter, the CM paid tribute to Santosh Koli, an AAP member who was associated with Parivartan since 2002, and died after being hit by a car.
“It is the sacrifice of brave activists like her that led to today’s revolutionary reform in ration,” he tweeted.
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