Food Minister Imran Hussain says L-G cited ‘invalid reasons’ to reject scheme
The Delhi government’s “revolutionary” doorstep delivery of ration scheme has been stalled by the Central government just days before it was to be launched, read a statement released by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s office on Saturday.
It said the scheme was intended to benefit more than 72 lakh beneficiaries; the Delhi government had sent the file for final approval and immediate rollout of the scheme to L-G Anil Baijal on May 24 after accepting “all suggestions” on it received from the Centre.
But, the CMO stated, the L-G had returned the file saying the scheme cannot be implemented in Delhi, citing what Food and Civil Supplies Minister Imran Hussain termed “invalid reasons”.
The Centre had made just one observation on the nomenclature of the scheme stating that the name — Mukhyamantri Ghar Ghar Ration Yojana — could not be used since the ration was being distributed under the existing NFS Act, the CMO stated. In order to “prevent any controversy”, the Delhi Cabinet had decided to change the name.
“L-G cited two invalid reasons to reject the implementation of Doorstep Delivery of Ration scheme, the decision politically motivated,” Mr. Hussain alleged.
According to the CMO, the L-G raised two concerns — the scheme hasn’t been approved by the Central government and that there is an ongoing court case on the scheme.
“No approval for launching such a scheme is required as per existing law. Nevertheless, we have written six letters to the Centre since 2018 apprising them of this revolutionary scheme at every stage,” Mr. Hussain said.
“Moreover, based on the last communication received from the Centre on 19.02.2021, their concerns regarding scheme name have also been accepted by Delhi Cabinet. What further approval is required?” he demanded.
‘L-G didn’t reject’
Sources said it has been advised again, like earlier on March 20, 2018, that since the proposal seeks to change the method of distribution, it would mandatorily require the prior approval of the Government of India as per Section 12 (2) (h) of the National Food Security Act 2013.
Additionally, it was brought to the notice that a Writ Petition WP (C) 2037/2021 in the said matter has been filed by the “Delhi Sarkari Ration Dealers Sangh” in High Court challenging the proposed arrangement of doorstep delivery of ration by GNCTD wherein the Union of India is also a party. The said petition is scheduled to be heard on August 20, 2021.
The sources added that the L-G has not rejected the proposal as is being portrayed.
He has advised for the constitutional scheme of things to be followed with the aim of ensuring seamless benefits to people at large.
This article was originally published on The Hindu