The doorstep ration delivery scheme was conceived by the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government, but it was stalled on March 19, days before it was to be implemented across the national capital.
"The doorstep ration delivery scheme, which would have benefitted more than 72 lakh people, has hit a roadblock again. The Delhi government had sent the file for final approval and immediate rollout of the scheme to Delhi Lt Governor Anil Baijal on May 24, but he (L-G) has returned the file back, saying the scheme cannot be implemented in Delhi," the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said in an official statement.
Earlier in March, the Centre had red-flagged the scheme, stating that the nomenclature of the programme – ‘Mukhyamantri Ghar Ghar Ration Yojana' -- could not be used since the ration was being distributed under the existing National Food Security Act, 2013.
The Delhi Cabinet had then approved the scheme without giving it any name. "After addressing all the queries raised by the Central government, the modified scheme will be launched in Delhi soon," the Delhi government had said.
"The L-G's office has objected to the scheme on two grounds -- the scheme hasn't been approved by the Centre, and that there is an ongoing court case on it," the CMO statement said.
However, Delhi's Food and Supply Minister, Imran Hussain, said, "No approval is required for launching such a scheme as per the existing laws. Nevertheless, we have written six letters to the Centre since 2018, apprising them of this scheme at every stage.
"Moreover, based on the last communication received from the Centre on March 19, their concern regarding the scheme's name has been accepted by the Delhi Cabinet. What further approval is required?"
Rejecting the objection raised by the L-G's office, Hussain argued that two hearings have already taken place on this matter and no stay has been ordered by the court so far.
"The Central government is a party to the case and in its affidavit too, it (Centre) has not objected to the rollout of the scheme. The fact that the L-G is citing this case to stop the rollout of this scheme makes it clear that the decision is politically motivated," Hussain added.