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Prime Minister Modi is ‘jhagdalu’, says Manish Sisodia on ration at doorstep row

The Delhi government and the Centre have been locked in a battle over the former’s decision to deliver ration to people’s homes instead of making it mandatory for them to get the supplies from ration shops.

Written by Mallica Joshi | New Delhi |
June 23, 2021 3:15:20 pm
Delhi schools, delhi school admission, delhi students news, delhi education news, manish sisodia, delhi education, single parent, latest delhi school news, indian expressThe Delhi government gives Rs 2,260 to every EWS category student every month for their fees and other expenses.(File Photo)

Calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi jhagdalu (quarrelsome), Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Wednesday said that the objections raised by the Centre on the proposed scheme of doorstep delivery of ration were “laughable”.

The Delhi government and the Centre have been locked in a battle over the former’s decision to deliver ration to people’s homes instead of making it mandatory for them to get the supplies from ration shops.

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution in a letter to the Delhi government had raised some “concerns and shortcomings” regarding the scheme. The ministry said that the government has not mentioned the prices of ration under home delivery. It also asked whether people who opt for home delivery can revert to taking ration from the shop later. Another concern it raised was about what happens in case the beneficiary changes their address and how addresses will be updated regularly.

In response, Sisodia said: “Centre could have asked us about the price and we would have told them. They are saying that this scheme has been rejected but we never sent it to them for approval. Distributing ration is the state government’s prerogative. We can tell the Centre that the cost will not be more than that prescribed by it.”

In the letter, the ministry also about doorstep delivery in cases where the lanes are narrow and buildings are multi-storey. “Free movement of the delivery vehicle may be hindered. Moreover, doorstep delivery may not be successful in multi-storey buildings with multiple floors… most of them (beneficiaries) are daily wave labourers, household job (holders) etc and timely delivery at fixed date/timing may be hampered due to tackling traffic congestions, breakdown of delivery vehicles etc,” the letter states.

Calling the objections laughable, Sisodia said that it seems like the Prime Minister has got into the habit of fighting with states and is making officials write these letters.

“For the first time in its history, India has seen such a jhagdalu Prime Minister. He fought with the West Bengal CM, then he fought with the state’s Chief Secretary. He fights with the Maharashtra Chief Minister, Twitter and Facebook. It seems like he woke up two days ago in the mood to fight with us, and asked the ministry officials to write this letter. The Centre has no right to stop this scheme,” Sisodia alleged.

“I want to make clear a couple of things. The Centre is saying that the proposal has been rejected. We never sent a proposal. Distribution of ration is our right. Which proposal did you reject? Second, when people can get pizzas delivered to their houses, fridges can be delivered by Amazon and, why can’t they get ration. How do these things reach the third floor?” he added.

The scheme, which has been a key plank of the AAP government in its third term in power, will have to get the assent of Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal before it can be implemented. The amendment in the Act on the governance pattern in Delhi, however, has given the L-G power to reject and raise objections in a scheme of policy decision, based on his discretion.

Previously, the Centre had said that that distribution of grain that is given by it cannot be done through a mode other than in ration shops. It had also asked why the Delhi government had not yet started the One Nation, One Ration card scheme and distribution through e-POS machines as verification tools. There are close to 73 lakh ration beneficiaries in the city, that get ration from around 2,000 shops.

“Many a time, shops do not open on time, there are long lines and some people are refused ration. Doorstep delivery will put an end to this,” Sisodia said.

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