New Delhi: In what came as a shock to many, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said that Rs 600 a month was enough to feed a family of five. The CM was speaking on the occasion of the launch of Delhi government`s cash-for-food programme, Annshree Yojana.
According to a report in the Times of India, the CM maintained that Rs 600 - the cash subsidy - was sufficient for buying the monthly ‘dal, roti and chawal’ for around five people. Congress president and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi was also present on the dais at Thyagaraja Stadium to launch the scheme. Sheila Dikshit said that the Delhi government had set aside Rs 200 crore for funding the Annshree subsidy.
“We got a voluntary organization to carry out a study in the target population to see if people wanted cash or ration. We found that 99% people wanted cash as women felt it would give them the freedom to buy what they need. For instance, some women said they could buy medicines if a family member was ill,” Dikshit said.
It is said that about 13,300 people will benefit from the scheme with immediate effect. The government has set a target to register a total of two lakh beneficiaries.
However, as per reports many of the beneficiaries who were present at the venue said that rations for families with five to seven members would come for Rs 1000-Rs 3000. One Maya Devi was quoted by the newspaper as saying – The amount of Rs 600 was nothing but a ‘sahara’ (support). Another woman, Ganga Devi was quoted as saying that she spends Rs 3000 on rations every month for a family of seven.
While on the one hand the UPA believes that the cash subsidy scheme will be a game changer, experts feel that the Rs 600 subsidy will have to be increased over time The scheme is aimed to empower the eldest woman of the beneficiary family where the subsidy will be delivered every month based on the Aadhar-UID number as identity proof.