The elected government of Delhi expresses its deep disappointment over the hon’ble Lietuenant Governor’s decision of not concurring with the cabinet decisions of providing doorstep delivery of ration and suspending the operation of e-POS machines, which had made Aadhar mandatory for ration beneficiaries.
Without citing any relevant rule/law, the hon’ble LG has advised that the doorstep delivery proposal be referred to the Centre. The Delhi government, however, is of the clear view that no reference to Centre is required according to law and this move of the hon’ble LG amounts to killing this landmark scheme for the poor.
The hon’ble LG’s objections will only increase the hardships of weaker sections of the society for whom the benefits of Targeted Public Distribution System are a source of lifeline.
The government has been consistently receiving complaints about ration beneficiaries not getting their ration entitlements as per law. There are deep vested interests who have always tried to scuttle any systemic reforms in PDS. There is a collusion between vested interests and certain sections of bureaucracy who do not wish that any reform in PDS should take place.
Doorstep Delivery of ration is a revolutionary concept. It was conceived a few months back and has been widely discussed. It has been hailed by all experts as well as the public. Therefore, it should be the endeavour of all of us to make it successful.
Point wise rebuttal of points raised by hon’ble LG is given below :
1. Hon’ble LG has stated that introduction of this scheme would require prior approval of the Central government under section 12 (2) (h) of the National Food Security Act 2013.
It appears that the hon’ble LG has been misled about the provisions of law and its intentions. The Delhi cabinet approved doorstep delivery of ration scheme under section 12(1) of the Act and not under section 12(2)(h). The section under which the cabinet approved the scheme does not require any prior approval.
2. In continuation, the hon’ble LG has pointed out that the Central government has allowed doorstep delivery of ration only for senior citizens and the physically challenged.
The Delhi government is only strengthening the central government scheme by extending this facility to all eligible ration beneficiaries and in the process is also eliminating the shortcomings in existing ration distribution system.
3. Another objection is that there should not be any misuse of the facility for the poor.
The government is of the firm view that there is no scope for misuse of the doorstep delivery of ration scheme, since the ration delivery will only be done after the biometric authentication of the eligible beneficiary. This scheme will remove middlemen and ration mafia and will end the miseries of genuine ration beneficiaries.
4. The hon’ble LG has further stated proposed system of doorstep delivery will only replace one set of human intervention with the other.
The government is of the firm view that the transparent system of doorstep delivery will replace the current opaque system of ration distribution. Currently ration is sold as an open item, whereas doorstep delivery will ensure sealed and packaged ration with no scope for adulteration or weighing problems.
5. Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) is a better option
Delhi government has already rejected the DBT and the considered decision of the elected government is final. (Further cash transfer is prone to misuse and poses a real threat that families may not get ration from the money provided to them)
6. An expenditure of Rs 250 crore will be incurred annually on home delivery of ration
There will be no fresh expenditure on home delivery of ration. Currently Delhi government provides a margin money of Rs two per kg on every ration item sold by ration shops. This money will be utilised in the home delivery scheme. Therefore the assumption of Rs 250 crore per annum expenditure is misplaced.
The hon’ble LG has chosen not to accept the cabinet decisions on the basis of motivated objections made by some bureaucrats. Each of these objections were overruled by respective ministers on the file giving detailed reasons.
These objections were also discussed at length in the Cabinet and overruled.It is worth noting that huge defalcation in PDS is taking place due to collusion between ration dealers and some bureaucrats.
It appears that bureaucracy does not want this proposal to be implemented. The bureaucracy has fought tooth and nail to prevent it.
The elected government is of the view that it is a matter of real sadness that the hon’ble LG has completely ignored the comments of ministers and relied on completely ridiculous and irrelevant objections made by some bureaucrats to stall such a revolutionary project.