New Delhi: With assembly elections just four months away, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has fine tuned her administrative machinery to ensure effective implementation of food security scheme which is expected to help Congress retain power in Delhi for the fourth consecutive term.
Dikshit today said the nitty gritty for implementation of the scheme, which will be launched here on August 20, the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, has been finalised and the government is now focusing fine tuning the food grain distribution mechanism.
Sources said UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi is likely to launch the scheme in Delhi, which will be the first state to roll it out.
Officials said the chief minister is personally monitoring the preparation for roll out of the scheme, termed by many in the Congress as a "game changer" programme ahead of the Lok Sabha polls next year.
"I am confident of an effective implementation of the scheme in Delhi. Delhi will be the first state to roll out the scheme. We are fine tuning the administrative machinery for roll out of the scheme," Dikshit told a press conference along with her cabinet colleagues.
She said initially 32 lakh people from vulnerable sections including BPL families, beneficiaries of Antyodaya Anna Yojana and those having jhuggi ration cards and resettlement colonies ration cards would be covered under the scheme.
"We will ultimately cover 73.5 lakh people, which will be 44 per cent of total population, under the food security scheme. Through implementation of the scheme, we will make Delhi a hunger-free state," she said. As per official figure, Delhi`s total population is 1.68 crore.
"Geographically, socially and occupationally vulnerable groups, such as residents of slum, resettlement colonies and rural villages, homeless people, transgenders, single women, children living without protection, rag-pickers, un-skilled construction workers, porters, casual daily wage workers, cycle-rickshaw pullers, un-skilled workers in small household would be eligible to get benefit under the scheme," she said.
She said other households having annual income of less than Rs one lakh would also be eligible to get benefit under the scheme.
Dikshit said any household where any member owns a light or heavy vehicle, owns a building, land in any of the five categories of colonies will not be eligible as beneficiary of the scheme.
"If any member of a household pays income tax or work in wing of the government, then no member of that household and will be eligible for benefit under the scheme.
Household having electricity connection above 2 kilo watt will also be not eligible," she said.
Dikshit said the government would continue with the Annashree Yojna and its beneficiaries, who are getting a monthly cash subsidy of Rs 600, will have the option of shifting to the food security programme.
The Delhi government had launched Annashree Yojna, a major food security programme, last December, under which a monthly cash subsidy of Rs 600 is being transferred directly into Aadhaar-linked bank account of the senior-most woman member of around one lakh poor families.
Under the food security scheme, three-fourth population of the country will have the right to get 5 kg 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 35 kg of foodgrains per family per month but with legal entitlement.
Exhorting the people to get their Aadhar numbers at the earliest, Dikshit said Aadhar data would be used to ensure transparency and prevent pilferage of food grains.
"The eldest woman in the household would be treated as head of households for the purpose of issue of Food Security Card provided she is not less than 18 years of age," she said.
Dikshit said application forms from "eligible people" will be received 200 places in the city including offices of Food and Supplies Department and Gender Resource Centres.
She said as of now the Public Grievance Commission, headed by former Chief Secretary P K Tripathi, would monitor implementation of the programme and later a State Food Commission will be set up for the purpose.
Help desk will also be set up at all food and supply offices to guide the applicants and help them in filling up the application forms. A call centre with four digit number 1967 and a toll free number 1800 110 841 is being set up to answer queries about the scheme.
Food and Supply Minister Harun Yusuf said government has decided to extend the scheme to all districts of Delhi under which maternity benefit of at least Rs 6000 is given to pregnant women. Currently, the scheme is being implemented in only two districts of Delhi.