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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

You can take credit, let us launch ration scheme: Delhi CM to Centre

The Centre had on Friday vetoed the rollout of the scheme, saying foodgrains allocated under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) cannot be used for a policy drawn up at the local level, that too using the ‘mukhyamantri’ nomenclature.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
March 21, 2021 3:09:07 am
"We are not bothered about credit. Officials have been directed to drop the name. I hope the Centre will not have any more objections,” Kejriwal said during a webcast.

The name ‘Mukhya Mantri Ghar Ghar Ration Yojna’ for the proposed doorstep ration delivery scheme will be dropped to address the concerns raised by the Union government, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said Saturday.

The Centre had on Friday vetoed the rollout of the scheme, saying foodgrains allocated under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) cannot be used for a policy drawn up at the local level, that too using the ‘mukhyamantri’ nomenclature.

“The Centre told us we cannot use the term ‘mukhyamantri’ as a name of the scheme. Perhaps they have an objection with the term. We have always followed the principle that they can take all the credit for work done by us. We are not bothered about credit. Officials have been directed to drop the name. I hope the Centre will not have any more objections,” Kejriwal said during a webcast.

However, the CM didn’t specify if the Delhi government is also ready to procure foodgrains for the scheme separately, instead of using rice or wheat allotted at highly subsidised prices under the NFSA, as suggested by the Union Food Ministry.

Responding to a request for a comment on Kejriwal’s statement, a Food Ministry official said, “We have to wait for a formal proposal to know details. Appropriate action will be taken accordingly.”

The Delhi government is likely to send a formal proposal on this matter to the Centre after a Cabinet meeting on Monday. The AAP has already termed the Centre’s stand as “anti-people” and the party’s social media platforms have been attacking the BJP over the issue.

Kejriwal said the scheme will hurt the interests of the powerful “ration mafia”, a term used to describe corruption in the public distribution system. He said the scheme is close to his heart due to his struggle over the decades to reform the PDS.

“I have been fighting against the ration mafia for over two decades. They are powerful people with links at high places. We used the RTI to expose large-scale corruption in PDS. Many of our fellow activists and the poor also faced attacks from the mafia. But we could bring very little change. So ever since we formed the government, I have been working on this scheme. And right when we were all set for its launch, the objections came,” Kejriwal said.

The Delhi government had plans to launch the scheme on March 25 at a slum cluster in Seemapuri.

The Centre had in February 2018 written to the states and union territories that they may consider home delivery of foodgrains for beneficiaries aged above 65 and the differently abled who are living alone or unable to visit ration shops to collect their share of monthly allocation.

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