Punjab roll-out doorstep ration delivery scheme; In Delhi still stalled

Bhagwant Mann says the scheme is aimed at providing good quality wheat and pulses packed in clean gunny bags

March 28, 2022 01:08 pm | Updated 08:39 pm IST - CHANDIGARH/NEW DELHI

File photo of PDS rice for representation

File photo of PDS rice for representation

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Monday said ration would be provided at the doorstep of beneficiaries across the State.

Similar doorstep delivery of ration in the Aam Aadmi Party-ruled Delhi has been stalled as its implementation was challenged in the Delhi High Court and the decision is awaited.

Taking a dig at the Bharatiya Janta Party, Mr. Mann said this scheme was earlier introduced in Delhi by the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government but somehow was stalled by the Centre as it intended to make people stand in long queues for ration.

Announcing the rollout of the doorstep ration delivery scheme, Mr. Mann said people across the State would now no longer need to stand in queues, and also it would be ensured that they get quality food grains or pulses.

‘No need to stand in queue’

“Today we are going to change this system. Now our elderly mothers will not have to stand in queue for hours for ration. No one will have to give up their daily wages. Today, I have decided that your government will deliver ration to your home,” he said, adding that several times poor people, especially daily wagers, had to forego their work only to get the ration. “How difficult and sad would that be. But now no one will have to leave their work for getting ration, our officials will deliver ration to the beneficiaries at their doorstep,” he said.

Mr. Mann said the scheme was aimed at providing good quality wheat and pulses to the people packed in clean gunny bags. An option would also be given to those beneficiaries who want to get ration supply from the nearby depots as per their convenience. “Our government has made an endeavour to provide healthy and hygienic ration at your doorstep,” the Chief Minister said, adding that the modalities for the implementation of this scheme would be rolled out shortly.

In Delhi, the Delhi Sarkari Ration Dealers Sangh has challenged in the High Court the Delhi government’s scheme for doorstep delivery of ration on the ground that the scheme bypassed the licensed FPS dealers without amending the necessary laws — the National Food Security Act (NFSA) of 2013 and the Delhi Specified Articles (regulation of distribution) Order of 1981.

‘Complete misconception’

The Delhi government has defended its doorstep delivery of ration scheme in the court saying that it was an optional scheme under which beneficiaries can opt out anytime. It also termed “complete misconception” the argument by the Delhi Sarkari Ration Dealers Sangh that fair price shops (FPS) would cease to exist on its implementation.

The Centre too had opposed the Delhi government’s scheme on the ground that the State cannot mitigate the architecture of the NFSA while implementing it.

On January 10 this year, the court reserved its verdict on the plea by the Delhi Sarkari Ration Dealers Sangh.

The Delhi Chief Minister’s Office in July 2021 had said that the government’s scheme had been stalled by the Central government just days before it was to be launched even after it had sent the file back to the Lieutenant Governor’s office after accepting “all suggestions” on it received from the Centre.

According to the CMO, the L-G raised two concerns — the scheme hasn’t been approved by the Central government and that there is an ongoing court case on the scheme.

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