The Delhi government had cleared the proposal to allow home delivery of rations to all cardholders of the capital last year.
The central government has blocked plans to launch the doorstep delivery of rations from next week, sources in the Arvind Kejriwal administration said on Saturday, in the latest episode in the tussle between the two sides that share responsibilities in the capital.
“The Delhi government had an ambitious plan to deliver rations to every household in Delhi at their doorstep. It would have helped 72 lakh people and was set to be implemented next week. But the central government said it can’t go ahead since its clearance wasn’t taken,” sources said.
The central government had flagged several concerns about the scheme in March saying it could result in ration card holders buying grains and other necessities at a higher rate than what is fixed under a central law.
According to the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, the scheme could also make it difficult for recipients of the subsidies to relocate and stall a shift towards biometric verification of beneficiaries.
The Delhi government had cleared the proposal to allow home delivery of rations to all cardholders of the capital last year in July to implement one of the major promises made by the ruling Aam Admi Party in the run-up to the assembly polls held in February.
The scheme called ‘Mukhya Mantri Ghar Ghar Ration Yojana’ would let the beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013 get the rations delivered home, making visits to the shops optional and eliminate corruption, the Delhi government had said.
The Delhi government had initially planned to roll out the scheme in March.
However, expressing reservations about the programme Union Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey told the media that it was “a complete deviation from the National Food Security Act and not permissible”. He said the scheme could result in beneficiaries paying extra for packaging and handling.
Arvind Kejriwal said he was prepared to give up the “Mukhya Mantri” tag in the name of the scheme if it soothed the central government’s ego but asserted, “We will accept all conditions of the centre but will not allow any obstruction in implementation of the scheme.”