Delhi govt gears up for food scheme launch

Delhi govt gears up for food scheme launch

New Delhi: Gearing up to launch the food security scheme on August 20, the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Monday issued directions for addressing the nitty-gritties in implementing the programme.

Chairing a cabinet meeting, Dikshit directed the Food and Supplies department to complete the groundwork as soon as possible.

Considering the potential of the populist measure in the Assembly elections slated for November in the city, Dikshit had earlier this month had announced that Delhi will be the first state in the country to launch the scheme, dubbed a 'game changer' by Congress for the Lok Sabha polls next year.

Sources said the cabinet meeting discussed the implementation of the scheme threadbare. The government plans to provide the benefit under the scheme to 5.10 lakh families in the first phase and the entitled foodgrain will be given to the beneficiary families through their seniormost female members.

Dikshit has also appointed a committee under the chairmanship of Food and Supplies Minister Harun Yusuf to oversee the preparations.

In the first phase, all BPL families, Above Poverty Line (APL) card holders and Jhughi Ration Card (JRC) holders and beneficiaries under Antodaya Anna Yojna (AAY) will be included.

The city government has also decided to include homeless people, daily wage-earners, rag-pickers, people living in resettlement colonies and slum clusters in the first phase of implementation of the scheme.

No income tax payers, vehicle and house owners will be included under the scheme in the first phase, officials said, adding that the second and final phase of implementation of the scheme will be launched in February next year.

They said the beneficiaries of Annashree Yojna, who are getting a monthly cash subsidy of Rs 600, are likely to be kept out in the first phase.

Under the scheme, three-fourth population of the country will have the right to get 5kg foodgrains every month at highly subsidised rates of Rs 1-3 per kg.

The per kg price of rice will be Rs 3 while wheat and coarse cereals will be given at Rs 2 and Rs 1 per kg, respectively, under the programme.

However, about 2.43 crore of the poorest of the poor families covered under AAY scheme under PDS would continue to get 35kg of foodgrains per family per month but with legal entitlement.

The Food Security programme will be the biggest in the world with the government spending estimated at Rs 1,25,000 crore annually on supply of about 62 million tonnes of rice, wheat and coarse cereals to 67 per cent of the population.

The Delhi government had launched Annashri Yojna, a major food security programme, in December last year, under which a monthly cash subsidy of Rs 600 is being transferred directly into Aadhaar-linked bank account of the senior-most female member of around one lakh poor families.

PTI

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