CM announces free ration to cardholders


Financial assistance of ₹5,000 to be provided to 1.56 lakh auto and taxi drivers

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday announced that the Delhi government will provide free ration to all the 72 lakh ration cardholders of the Capital for the next two months. He also announced that the government will provide financial assistance of ₹5,000 to every auto and taxi driver in the city like last year, wherein 1.56 lakh drivers had received one-time financial assistance.

During a digital press briefing, he said: “We have taken two major decisions. Firstly, free ration will be provided to the around 72 lakh ration cardholders of Delhi for the next two months. One should not assume that the lockdown will continue for the next two months. Let us hope that the cases begin to decrease and the lockdown is lifted early.”

He harped on the financial implications of the lockdown. “To deal with COVID-19, we have imposed a lockdown in Delhi and this was essential to curtail the number of cases and to break the chain. We’re well aware that any lockdown creates a financial crisis for people, especially for the poor. It hits the daily wage workers particularly hard following which it becomes difficult for them to run their homes,” he said.

Last week, Mr. Kejriwal also said, the Delhi government had made a special announcement for labourers regarding depositing ₹5,000 each in their accounts and this had been done.

Depleted income

The government, he said, had also announced that it would help those labourers falling ill and whose RT-PCR reports turned out positive. All autorickshaw and taxi drivers too were seeing tough times as their homes ran on daily wages. “Some do not have much savings too, and with the lockdown of the past few weeks, their daily earnings have depleted completely,” he also said.

Terming it “extremely dangerous”, Mr. Kejriwal said the city and its citizens were facing “a very difficult period” and everyone, irrespective of their party, should come together and help each other.

“This is not the time for politics; everyone should work together. Be it any religion, or any caste, this disease does not discriminate. Be it the rich or the poor, everyone should help each other,” he said.

“If someone is ill then one can offer help by admitting them to a hospital. If someone is not getting a bed, help them find a bed. Even the smallest piece of information can be helpful,” he added.

Taking undue credit

All the same, the Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Assembly Ramvir Singh Bidhuri accused Kejriwal of misleading the people regarding the free ration scheme, saying it was announced by the Modi government last week. “The Chief Minister needs to clarify that this free ration scheme is a centrally sponsored scheme and if the Delhi government was giving anything else apart from this, it needs to be made clear,” Mr. Bidhuri said.

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