The Centre on Friday directed state governments to deliver highly subsidised foodgrain to the homes of the Public Distribution System’s beneficiaries in order to prevent deaths due to starvation.
“We have given guidelines to all states to ensure there are no starvation death because of non-delivery of PDS grains,” Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan told reporters after a meeting with state food ministers in New Delhi, PTI reported. “As a precautionary measure, we have asked states to provide for doorstep delivery of subsidised grains.”
“It could be possible that such beneficiary may be rich and they do not require, and such ration card can be cancelled,” Paswan added. “There could be another possibility that some beneficiaries are not able to visit ration shop because of old age and physical disability. In that case, we need to provide home delivery of ration.” The minister added that the subsidy rate at which foodgrain is supplied through ration shops has not been revised since 2013.
This directive comes three months after Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal rejected the Aam Aadmi Party government’s scheme of doorstep delivery of rations.
Referring to this, Paswan told reporters that he welcomed the Delhi government’s decision to supply essential items at the doorstep. “But what will happen to fair price shop dealers? If other states want to do it, it is welcome as we will be happy that the poor get ration at their homes,” he said, according to IANS.
Following the Centre’s order, AAP MLA Saurabh Bharadwaj tweeted that the Delhi government had been “advocating and pleading” with the lieutenant governor to not stall the doorstep delivery of rations. He also claimed that there is a “clear nexus of ration shop owners and officers who do not want doorstep delivery”. Bharadwaj added that good sense had finally prevailed.