Activists write to Delhi CM demanding free ration under PDS for three months
The activists while appreciating the govt order which stated that the poor without ration cards would also be given ration, pointed out that no order detailing the modalities of it was available
Requesting for universal coverage under the public distribution system for at least three months, activists under Delhi Rozi Roti Adhikar Abhiyan have written to the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to ensure access to rations for the lakhs of people living in the city but not having ration cards, due to exclusion errors and limited quotas.
The activists while appreciating the government order which stated that the poor without ration cards would also be given ration, pointed out that no order laying down the modalities (total coverage, eligibility criteria, application procedure) of this decision was available in the public domain.
The tweet from the handle of the chief minister stating that those requiring ration cards have to apply online was worrisome, they noted as during the lockdown, it would be extremely difficult for the poor and vulnerable to make online applications.
The letter to the CM underscores that, “As per media reports, only 10 lakh additional people will be given rations. This will be woefully inadequate. Currently, of the about 1.9 crore population in Delhi, only 71.08 lakh persons have ration cards i.e. about 37%. The population in Delhi that depends on daily wage and casual employment is much larger, given that nearly 90% of the workforce in India is in the informal sector. These people, having lost their jobs as a result of the lockdown, are in dire need of rations to meet their basic food requirements.”
The activists highlighted that Universal schemes tend to have lower leakages and minimal exclusions. “Universal PDS in states such as Tamil Nadu has resulted in the rich self-selecting themselves out of the system because the opportunity cost of standing in the line and the relatively inferior quality of grain are not worth their taking the benefits. Further, currently with the presence of the police, civil defence volunteers and/or MLA volunteers at all the ration shops, it can be ensured that there is proper utilisation of grains, and that they reach the beneficiaries.
The option of allowing people to cook from home was also mentioned in the letter to the CM. “While, it is important to continue cooked meals, especially for homeless and single populations, it must be realised that provision of cooked meals alone is insufficient. People who usually cook and eat at home should be facilitated to do so as soon as possible,” stated the letter.