Amid a tussle between the Centre and the Delhi government over doorstep ration delivery, the Delhi Food Department has directed fair price shops, barring those in Seemapuri, to distribute rations for the month of June among beneficiaries manually.
The distribution of rations began on Friday. In seemapuri, it will be distributed only through e-PoS.
In an order issued on Thursday, the office of the Commissioner of Food Supplies and Consumer Affairs said: “The distribution of SFAs [specified food articles] for the month of June, 2021 is to be done manually at all FPSs except Circle-63 [Seemapuri].”
The distribution of rations in Circle-63 [Seemapuri] is to be done only through e-PoS under the National Food Security Act in accordance with the guidelines of the ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ scheme to be issued by the policy branch, it said.
The Delhi government had earlier decided to give free rations to all cardholders in the national capital in May and June in view of the lockdown. Delhi had suspended the use of e-PoS in early 2018 following complaints of poor network leading to authentication failures and exclusion of genuine beneficiaries.
Under the ONORC Scheme, persons holding a ration card under the National Food Security Act can collect their monthly quota of foodgrains from any FPS across the country. In April, the Delhi Food Department had rolled out the ONORC scheme in Seemapuri on a pilot basis. The portability depends on e-PoS machines, which use Aadhaar-linked biometric authentication to verify the identity and the entitlement of beneficiaries.
The Delhi government had last week claimed that the Centre had again “blocked” its ambitious doorstep delivery of ration scheme days ahead of its launch.
On Sunday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to allow the state government to launch doorstep ration delivery, claiming crowded ration shops could potentially turn into COVID-19 “super-spreader” zones in the city.
In its order, the food department has also asked FPS holders to ensure that social distancing norms are maintained during the distribution process. The beneficiaries should be encouraged to wear masks and use hand sanitisers.
All FPSs have been asked to distribute food grains and sugar on all seven days of the week between 9 am and 1 pm and from 3 pm to 7 pm in compliance of the directions of the Delhi High Court to ensure uninterrupted supply of food grains to the PDS beneficiaries.
At present, Delhi has around 1.78 million ration card holder households, which are divided into three categories -- priority households (PR), priority state households (PRS), and Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) families.
The beneficiaries under the PR and PRS categories are entitled to 5 kg of food grains per month, while AAY households receive 25 kg wheat, 10 kg rice and 1 kg sugar.
The city government distributes rations through a network of around 2,000 fair price shops.