Food scheme comes a step closer

Claiming to be the first state in the country to roll out the ambitious Food Security Scheme of the UPA government, chief minister Sheila Dikshit formally announced on Friday the nitty-gritties of the scheme that would be launched in the city on August 20 - birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

The first phase of the scheme would come into effect from September 1, the day from which around 5.10 lakh poor families (about 32 lakh persons), out of Delhi’s total population of 1.68 crore, or the city’s 19 per cent population, would start getting foodgrains at a subsidised rate of Rs 1-3 per kg.

After the scheme’s second phase is launched in February next year, a total of 73.5 lakh persons would get subsidised foodgrains per month.

“We are committed to implement the scheme that has been launched by the UPA government. Through the scheme, we will make Delhi hunger-free,” Dikshit said while addressing a media conference, which was attended by all her cabinet colleagues.

It is for the benefit of all BPL families, Above Poverty Line (APL) card holders and Jhughi Ration Card (JRC) holders, Resettlement Colony Ration Card (RCRC) holders and beneficiaries under Antodaya Anna Yojna (AAY) apart from the homeless, daily wage-earners, rag-pickers, people living in resettlement colonies and slum clusters will be
included among the beneficiaries.

The officials, however, said the beneficiaries of Annashree Yojna -  a major food security programme started by Dikshit-led Delhi government - who get a monthly cash subsidy of Rs 600, will not be brought under the newly-launched Food Security Scheme.

For implementing the scheme, the chief minister said, the city government would issue Food Security Cards. And as for the Anna Shree Yojna, the food security scheme will consider ‘a household’s eldest women as head of the family for the purpose of issue of ration card, provided she is into less than 18 years of age’.

While accepting that the public distribution system is plagued by several problems, the chief minister Sheila Dikshit said that in order to prevent any duplication, the Food Security Cards would include Aadhar numbers of all family members.

“Application from eligible households will be received at more than 200 places including offices of food and civil supplies and the grievance cells,” city's food and civil supplies minister Haroon Yusuf said.

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