New Delhi: Distribution of food grains under the ambitious Food Security Programme formally began in the national capital on Sunday with Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit offering the entitlement to identified beneficiaries in several areas.
The scheme was launched in Delhi on August 20 by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
At the launch of the scheme, Dikshit had said food grains under the programme would be distributed from September 1.
The Chief Minister distributed the food grains to the beneficiaries at Lakshmibai Nagar, South Kidwai Nagar, Krishna Menon Marg and Copernicus Marg in central Delhi.
All the areas where Dikshit distributed food grains fall under New Delhi constituency which she represents.
A number of Congress MLAs also distributed food grains in their respective constituency.
Dikshit said Delhi government will provide benefits under the scheme to 73.5 lakh people in the city out of the total population of 1.68 crore.
In the first phase, the Government will distribute food grains to 32 lakh beneficiaries.
She said the process of reaching out to the remaining 41 lakh persons has already started.
"My government is committed to cover all 73 lakh persons under the Food Security Programme by January next year as the parameters for identification of the beneficiaries have been meticulously finalised.
The scheme would go a long way in overcoming hunger and alleviation of poverty across the country apart from enhancing the status of women," Dikshit said, addressing a gathering at Laksmibai Nagar.
Facing election in November, Dikshit has already asked all Congress MLAs and councillors to help eligible people get benefits under the scheme as well as publicise it effectively.
All BPL families, Above Poverty Line (APL) card holders and Jhughi Ration Card (JRC) holders and beneficiaries under Antodaya Anna Yojna (AAY) are being included in the first phase.
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.
Dikshit said the scheme provides for empowering the women as under the provision the right to food is given to a family through the woman head.
The Food Security programme will be the biggest in the world with the government spending estimated at Rs 125,000 crore annually on supply of about 62 million tonnes of rice, wheat and coarse cereals to 67 per cent of the population.
Under the scheme, the beneficiaries will have the right to get 5 kg food grains every month at highly subsidised rates of Rs 1-3 per kg.
Congress believes that the food security and direct benefit transfer scheme would be some sort of game changer for the party in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls on the line of MNREGA and farmer loan waiver schemes.
Delhi government had decided to implement the scheme as the Centre had issued Food Security Ordinance in July.
The Food Security Bill has been cleared by the Lok Sabha and is awaiting Rajya Sabha`s approval.