On June 5, Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi Government accused the Union Government of rejecting the proposal of door-to-door delivery of ration. In a series of tweets, Aam Aadmi Party, from its official accounts on social media platforms, launched an attack on the central Government. In the tweets, Delhi government alleged that LG rejected the proposal by making excuses like lack of approval from the central Government.
AAP claimed that under the guise of lack of approvals, central government was denying free ration to the poor.
AAP claimed that Kejriwal was ‘fighting’ against ration mafia for decades and that Modi govt cannot stop him. It must be pointed out that former Aam Aadmi Party MLA and social welfare minister Sandeep Kumar was accused of being involved in sex racket for ration card. The woman in a sex tape had alleged AAP leader had sexually abused her for pretext of giving ration card.
AAP then cast aspersions on PM Modi and questioned what is his ‘setting’ with the ‘ration mafia’ because of which he is not letting Delhi government’s ration scheme being implemented
‘No one has stopped Delhi Govt from distributing ration’
The Government of India denied the allegations and said that they had not stopped the Delhi Government from distributing ration the way they want. The sources in the union government said the state has the rights to distribute food grains under any scheme. GOI also provides additional ration for distribution if asked by the state.
The LG (Lieutenant Governor) has only returned the scheme for reconsideration, not ‘rejected’ as being portrayed by Delhi government. Further, the LG office said that since the approval seeks to change direction of food distribution, same can be implemented only after central government’s approval as per National Food Security Act, 2013.
Delhi Govt lifted 179% of allocated grains
As per the sources, the Delhi government has lifted all its quota of NFSA, i.e. 37,400 MT of grains and have distributed 90% of the same. Also, the Government lifted 63,200 MT of ration under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), which clocks to 176% of the allocated grains in May. The state has distributed 73% of the same.
GOI provides additional ration on request
The Government of India grants additional ration to the state if requested. In the case of Delhi, the GOI is ready to grant additional ration to Delhi for distribution, and the Delhi Government is free to distribute it in the way they want. “Why would the Government of India deprive the citizens of any welfare scheme of the Government? Give any name to any scheme to distribute ration, and GOI will provide additional ration,” said the sources. However, there is no need to disrupt the existing Pan Indian Scheme under NFSA, they added.
‘All states are treated equally’
The Government of India does not discriminate against any state. It treats all the states of the country uniformly under a common National Act. Notably, the Government of Delhi wants to modify the Nationally administered program for grain distribution and shift the cost of milling etc., to the Delhi consumers. The central Government only informed Delhi about the rule position.
Delhi govt failed to provide benefit under ONORC
Sources in the Government informed that the Delhi Government failed to implement the One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC) scheme in Delhi despite multiple reminders from GOI. If implemented properly, it could have served more than a million migrant workers in Delhi without any additional cost to Delhi’s budget as the ration was allotted under National Food Security Act (NFSA)
In 2018, the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) suspended the use of EPOS (Electronic Point of Sale) machines in approx 2000 Fair Price Shops (FPSs). After multiple rounds of communication initiated by the central government, the AAP-led Delhi Government has now installed it at the shops. However, most of them are not fully functional for online PDS transactions. “This directly undermines transparency and rightful targetting under NFSA and PMGKA. While the national average of Aadhaar authentication of PDS transactions is almost 80 percent, it is nil in Delhi. This directly denies lakhs of migrants in Delhi the benefits of portability and at the same time encourages diversion of foodgrains,” they added.
As EPOS is not used properly, GOI does not get Foodgrains Distribution Data on a daily basis, which creates hurdles while allocating ration. On the other hand, states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar not only using the EPOS system but also carrying out over 95% of Aadhaar authenticated transactions under TPDS and PMGKAY. States like Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura have installed 100% ePoS machines at their FPSs, making it easier for the Central Government to monitor NFSA foodgrains distribution in realtime. The sources said the Food Department of GNCTD is not responding proactively and positively to the communications from Central Government over these issues.
ONORC is the real solution
The Government of India categorically denied the allegations raised by the Delhi Government and called them baseless. GOI has not blocked the proposed State scheme of doorstep delivery. “The real solution lies in ushering in transparency, rightful targeting and implementation of One Nation One Ration Card(ONORC) in Delhi for refining the functioning of the PDS in the State of Delhi for the benefit of all rightful beneficiaries and migrants covered under NFSA,” the sources added.