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The Centre has stopped Arvind Kejriwal government's ambitious doorstep delivery of ration scheme that was set to be launched soon, the Delhi government said on Saturday.

"Delhi government was all set to launch the 'Doorstep Delivery of Ration' scheme across Delhi within 1-2 days. The LG has rejected the file for implementation of the scheme citing two reasons – Centre is yet to approve the scheme, and an ongoing court case," said Chief Minister's Office

All preparations for doorstep delivery of ration scheme were in place and it was scheduled to be launched from next week.

"The scheme was stopped by the Centre on the basis that its approval was not sought before implementation," officials said.

In reply, the Centre's Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution stated, "Government of India has not asked Delhi Government to not to distribute the ration the way they want. GOI is ready to grant an additional ration to Delhi. GOI had only informed them about the rule position."

The central government had flagged several concerns about the scheme in March saying it could result in ration card holders buying grains and other necessities at a higher rate than what is fixed under a central law, according to news agency PTI.

According to the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, the scheme could also make it difficult for recipients of the subsidies to relocate and stall a shift towards biometric verification of beneficiaries, PTI reported.

Earlier in March, the Delhi Cabinet had approved the doorstep delivery of a ration scheme to be rolled out without any name after objections by the Centre of its naming as Mukhyamantri Ghar Ghar Ration Yojana.

"The original name of the scheme, Mukhyamantri Ghar Ghar Ration Yojana, which was expected to be rolled out on March 25, will not have any name due to the obstruction by the Centre. Under the new scheme, wheat flour atta, rice, and sugar will be delivered to homes in packed bags," an official statement by the Delhi government said.

The Delhi government was all set to launch the doorstep delivery of ration scheme within one to two days, benefiting 72 lakh poor beneficiaries, said the CMO statement.

It claimed that after accepting all suggestions of the Centre, the Delhi government had sent the file for final approval and immediate rollout of the scheme to the LG on May 24 which was returned by him "rejecting" the scheme.

Under the scheme, every beneficiary was entitled to receive 4 kg of flour and one kg of rice cleaned and packed at their doorstep.

The Delhi government had completed the preparatory work for the implementation of the scheme. Tenders had been awarded, a letter of intent had been released, and vendors had been appointed for doorstep delivery, according to the CMO statement.

"The Centre's obstruction also severely compromises Delhi's fight against a possible third wave of coronavirus. People forced to stand in long queues outside ration shops may contract the infection and could pass it on to their children. Keeping this in mind, the Delhi government had fast-tracked implementation of this scheme," it said.

The CMO claimed that similar models of the last-mile delivery system have been started in Andhra Pradesh and Haryana.

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