Sisodia, Kejriwal hit out at Centre for rejecting doorstep ration plan

People collecting ration from a centre in Adarsh Nagar.   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Wednesday said that the Central government in a letter said it has “rejected” a “proposal” for doorstep delivery of ration in the city and attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for it.

“Yesterday [Tuesday], there was a letter from the Union government to the Delhi government that proposal for doorstep delivery of ration has been rejected. We had not sent any proposal. It is the State government’s right to decide how to distribute ration,” Mr. Sisodia said.

The letter sent on June 22 by the Department of Food and Public Distribution of the Central government rejected the Delhi government’s “proposal” for a doorstep delivery of ration and suggested that the scheme be started first as a pilot in selected areas of the city.

It “clarified that the proposal of GNCTD (Delhi government) doesn’t meet the statutory and functional requirements of the National Food Security Act (NFSA) and therefore, the proposal made by GNCTD can’t be accepted.”

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that there should not be a political fight over doorstep delivery of ration.

“Fighting with everyone all the time is not right - Twitter, Lakshadweep, Mamta didi, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Delhi government, farmers, traders, even the Chief Secretary of West Bengal. How will our nation develop if all our Central government does is to fight constantly? Doorstep delivery of ration is in the national interest. Don’t fight over it,” Mr. Kejriwal said in a tweet in Hindi

“We received a disparaging letter from the Central government citing senseless reasons to stop the doorstep delivery of ration to our people,” Mr. Sisodia said.

Meanwhile, Delhi Food and Civil Supplies Minister Imran Hussain said that the Delhi government is firmly committed to provide free ration to both NFS beneficiaries and non-cardholders as long as the situation warrants. .

What Centre said

The letter said it was not clear on how Delhi government would maintain uninterrupted delivery in case beneficiaries change their address, or whether beneficiaries would be allowed to opt-out from doorstep delivery at any point during the year, and revert to picking up their ration at the fair price shops.

It also asked how the Delhi government would ensure that their delivery vehicles would be able to access narrow streets or high rise apartments, how it would coordinate delivery timings if beneficiaries are not at home during the day, and how biometric authentication would be ensured at homes in areas without strong internet connectivity.

“The scheme may also face administrative and operational hurdles in terms of leakages, diversions, accountability issues, and assurance of timely availability of right quantity and quality of foodgrains,” said the letter, adding that without monitoring and an institutionalised oversight mechanism, there is likely to be a surge of grievances and complaints in the courts. Questions were also raised about the accountability of delivery contractors, and the measures to prevent adulteration and diversion by delivery vehicle operators. The viability of fair price shops could also be impacted, it said.

The Centre also raised concerns about how doorstep delivery scheme could be integrated with the One Nation One Ration Card scheme to ensure that street dwellers, ragpickers, migrant workers, construction workers, rickshaw pullers and others who may not have a permanent address in Delhi will be able to receive their ration allocation.

The Food Ministry’s letter follows an earlier letter on June 17, issuing an ultimatum to the Delhi government to operationalise ePoS machines and implement ONORC by June 30.

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Printable version | Jul 28, 2021 8:46:33 PM |

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