Kejriwal vs Centre Tussle Intensifies

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday asked the Centre why ration could not be delivered at home “when pizza can be” as he attacked the government for “giving in” to ration mafia.

Addressing a digital press conference, Kejriwal also disputed the Centre’s claim that his government did not take permission for the implementation of the scheme. “My government sought approval five times from the centre despite no such permission needed as per the law,” he said.

“For the first time, a government had taken a step to check on ration mafia. See how powerful they are, they got the scheme cancelled just a week ahead of its implementation,” he said.

The statement came a day after Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, Anil Baijal, stalled the Delhi government’s flagship doorstep ration delivery scheme, which was supposed to begin a week later. The scheme, which aimed at benefiting 72 lakh people, was axed by LG Baijal as it said the Arvind Kejriwal government did not seek prior permission for the project.

Delhi Food and Civil Supplies Minister Imran Hussain said that LG Anil Baijal has cited two “invalid” reasons for withholding approval for the rollout of the scheme — that the scheme has not been approved by the central government and that there is an on going court case.

Alleging that the move was politically motivated, Hussain argued, “No approval for launching such a scheme is required as per existing law. Nevertheless, we have written 6 letters to the Centre since 2018 apprising them of this revolutionary scheme at every stage. Moreover, based on the last communication received from the Centre on 19.02.2021, their concerns regarding scheme name have also been accepted by Delhi Cabinet. What further approval is required?”

One of the most ambitious schemes of the Arvind Kejriwal government, the ‘Mukhya Mantri Ghar Ghar Ration Yojna’ (MMGGRY) under the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) of the National Food Security Act, 2013, was announced in 2018 but notified by on February 20 when the AAP won again in February 2020. The scheme involved the delivery of packed wheat flour and rice to beneficiaries at their doorstep.

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