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Delhi Govt's Ration-At-Doorstep Scheme Blocked as Centre's 'Approval Not Sought', Says AAP

By: Rupashree Nanda

CNN-News18

Last Updated: June 05, 2021, 20:36 IST

File photo of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

File photo of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

The scheme involved the delivery of packed wheat flour and rice to beneficiaries at their doorstep.

The Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, Anil Baijal, on Saturday stalled the Delhi government’s flagship doorstep ration delivery scheme, which was supposed to begin a week later. The scheme, which aimed at benefiting 72 lakh people, was axed by LG Baijal as it said the Arvind Kejriwal government did not seek prior permission for the project.

Delhi Food and Civil Supplies Minister Imran Hussain said that LG Anil Baijal has cited two “invalid” reasons for withholding approval for the rollout of the scheme — that the scheme has not been approved by the central government and that there is an on going court case.

Alleging that the move was politically motivated, Hussain argued, “No approval for launching such a scheme is required as per existing law. Nevertheless, we have written 6 letters to the Centre since 2018 apprising them of this revolutionary scheme at every stage. Moreover, based on the last communication received from the Centre on 19.02.2021, their concerns regarding scheme name have also been accepted by Delhi Cabinet. What further approval is required?”

One of the most ambitious schemes of the Arvind Kejriwal government, the ‘Mukhya Mantri Ghar Ghar Ration Yojna’ (MMGGRY) under the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) of the National Food Security Act, 2013, was announced in 2018 but notified by on February 20 when the AAP won again in February 2020. The scheme involved the delivery of packed wheat flour and rice to beneficiaries at their doorstep.

On March 20, Kejriwal had directed officials to remove the name — MMGGRY — from the government’s scheme as it had been stalled after the central government objected to the nomenclature of the scheme.

Moreover, the preparatory work of awarding tenders, issuing letters of intent and appointment of vendors had already been done. In a statement, the Kejriwal government said, “Doorstep delivery of ration would have been a boon for the poor who are fearful of going to ration shops due to Corona, or to stop spread of virus to the children in the third wave. Rejecting this scheme is a huge hit to Delhi’s fight against Corona.”

However, sources in the Lieutenant Governor’s office have indicated that the file pertaining to ‘notification on home delivery of processed and packaged ration under TDPS’ proposed to be implemented through a private vendor has been returned to the chief minister for reconsideration. Returning the file, he reiterated “since the proposal seeks to change the method of distribution, it would mandatorily require the prior approval of Government of India as per Section 12 (2) (h) of the National Food Security Act 2013.”

Additionally, it was brought to the notice that a Writ Petition WP (C) 2037/2021 in the said matter has been filed by the ‘Delhi Sarkari Ration Dealers Sangh’ in the Delhi High Court challenging the proposed arrangement of doorstep delivery of ration by GNCTD, wherein, the Union of India is also a party. The said petition is scheduled to be heard on August 20, 2021.

Sources in the LG office underlined that Baijal has not rejected the proposal as is being portrayed but has advised for the constitutional scheme of things to be followed in letter and spirit with the sole aim of ensuring smooth decisions and seamless benefits to people at large.

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first published:June 05, 2021, 17:05 IST
last updated:June 05, 2021, 20:36 IST