The Centre on Friday wrote to the Delhi government saying that it was not allowed to use foodgrains allotted under the National Food Security Act for its flagship initiative of delivering ration items at doorstep, NDTV reported.
The Arvind Kejriwal-led government was scheduled to launch the scheme, named Mukhya Mantri Ghar Ghar Ration Yojana, on March 25. Under the scheme, the government had planned to provide packaged wheat flour, rice and sugar at the doorstep of beneficiaries of the ration system.
In a notification issued by the Union Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ministry, the Centre said that the foodgrains cannot be used for any state-specific schemes under a different name, other than the NFSA, the Hindustan Times reported.
“The use of new nomenclature or scheme name for distribution of NFSA foodgrains by the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi is not permissible,” the notification said.
The notification however mentioned that the department will have no objection if the scheme was launched “without mixing the elements of the NFSA foodgrains”.
The Delhi government confirmed the Centre’s decision in a statement on Friday, NDTV reported. “Centre said that they provide ration to states under the National Food Security Act so no changes should be made to it,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, the move attracted criticism from the Aam Aadmi Party, as it accused the Centre of siding with the “ration mafia”.
In a press conference on Friday evening, AAP spokesperson and Greater Kailash MLA Saurabh Bharadwaj questioned the rationale behind Centre’s decision. “It is surprising that the Central government has objections to a system which will provide ration to the poor at their homes and eliminate middlemen and corruption,” Bharadwaj said.
“The Delhi government is launching the scheme of its own expense,” the AAP leader added. “We are not asking the Centre to pay for delivery or packaging charges.” He referred to the Centre’s decision as an “anti-people dictum” and asked it to roll it back.