New Delhi: Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad severely criticised Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday over his proposal of Delhi Ration Scheme. Prasad called Kejriwal’s Delhi ration scheme a ‘jumla’ and added that Delhi government is under the control of the ‘ration mafia’.
“Arvind Kejriwal ji is talking about delivering food to every household. He could not deliver oxygen, could not deliver medicine from mohalla clinics. Every household food is also a jumla. The Delhi government is under the control of the ration mafia, ” Prasad said in his stinging remarks on Friday.
The Law Minister raised questions about the Delhi-specific scheme when the Centre already runs a food subsidy scheme for people who are living below the poverty line. The Antyodaya Anna Yojana (which began in 2000) is a scheme run by the Government of India to provide highly subsidised food to the poorest families.
Under ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ programme, ration card holders or beneficiaries, especially migrant workers cab avail of subsidised food commodities from anywhere in the country, however, the scheme has not been implemented in Delhi.
On June 7, BJP-led Central government asked Delhi government to expeditiously implement the ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ programme. Law Minister added that the programme is already running in more than 30 states and UTs so far.
“One Nation, One Ration Card is a very important scheme which was started by the Government of India. One Nation, One Ration Card scheme is running in 34 states and union territories of the country. So far 28 crore portable transactions have been done on it,” he said during a press brief in New Delhi on Friday.
‘The One Nation, One Ration Card’ programme uses digital ration cards that store details of scheme beneficiaries, their monthly quota of ration prescribed under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013, as wells as withdrawals made through electronic points of sale. The scheme was designed to stop the pilferage of highly subsidised food grains, black marketing and allow the poorest to reap ration benefits. The country currently provides affordable foodgrains to nearly 800 million ration card holders the NFSA 2013.
“Rice costs Rs 37 per kg and wheat costs Rs 27 per kg. The Government of India gives food grains to the states for distribution through ration shops by giving subsidies. The Government of India spends about Rs 2 lakh crore annually in this,” Law Minister Ravi Prasad added.
The Minister also pointed out that the Central Government provides wheat at Rs 2 per kg, rice at Rs 3 per kg across the country. Noting that Covid-19 induced issues are also being taken into consideration, he questioned Delhi Government’s proposal to start “Mukhya Mantri Ghar Ghar Ration Yojna” (MMGGRY).
“The Government of India gives wheat at Rs 2 per kg, rice at Rs 3 per kg across the country. Under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, like last year, this time also free ration is being given to the poor till November,” he said.
On February 20, the Delhi government notified its plan to implement the MMGGRY. The Department of Food and Public Distribution on March 19, in its reply, told the Delhi government that it cannot use the foodgrains from National Food Security Act (NFSA)’s central pool for doorstep delivery of ration drive under the “Mukhya mantri Ghar Ghar Ration Yojna” (MMGGRY). It added Centre has no objection if the AAP launches a separate scheme without mixing the elements of NFSA foodgrains.