The Delhi authorities failed to acquire subsidised foodgrains below a Central scheme for occupants of welfare houses and hostels because of a delay in submitting proposals, inviting rebuke from the Union Food Ministry, official information present.
Under the Centre’s Welfare Institutions and Hostel Scheme, foodgrains are allotted to states and union territories at BPL charges to be used at shelter houses for the infirm, ladies, youngsters and different susceptible teams in addition to hostels meant for SC/ST/OBC college students.
According to Union authorities and Delhi authorities information, the allocation for the interval October 2019-March 2020 and April 2020-September 2020 won’t be made because of the delay.
The Union Food Ministry wrote to the Delhi Food Commissioner on September 3, 2020, flagging the delay, after the state requested it to think about allocation of foodgrains for the second half of 2019 and first half of 2020. Delhi had submitted its proposal on September 1. “It is not understood how the government of NCT Delhi intends to utilise the foodgrains now and how it will benefit beneficiaries who have already been deprived of the foodgrains. Therefore, it is not feasible to consider the request for allocation of foodgrains for the first half of 2020-21 at this stage,” it mentioned.
The request for allocation for the second half of 2019-20 has additionally been rejected, saying the Centre doesn’t make “retrospective allocation of foodgrains”.
For the interval October 2020 and March 2021, 1.976 metric tonnes of wheat and 0.503 metric tonnes of rice have been allotted, the division mentioned. For the primary half of 2018-19, 42.53 MT wheat and 10.59 MT rice was allotted for Delhi.
The Centre had in February and September 2020 additionally knowledgeable Delhi that the scheme will as soon as once more cowl government-aided establishments and hostels as properly, which was discontinued in March 2019, and sought particulars on the unspent stability of foodgrains.
Asked for a remark, the Delhi Food Department, in a written assertion, attributed the delay to administrative causes, saying the proposal couldn’t be finalised on time because the utilisation certificates from circle meals security officers “were not cleared by the accounts branch”.
Behind Centre’s push to hold out audits of scheme
The Centre had urged states and UTs previously to hold out common audits of its Welfare Institutions and Hostel Scheme, citing the absence of detailed norms and standards for allocation of foodgrains. It had identified that utilisation of the allocations made are sometimes unmonitored. Even on this case, the delay in submitting proposals occurred because of variations in utilisation certificates made by two completely different wings of the Delhi authorities. Delhi has a number of such houses, the place the foodgrains are disbursed, akin to After Care Home for Women, Bal Niketan, Widow Home at Nirmal Chaya Complex, Nari Niketan.
As per tips, the Centre makes the allocation on a half-yearly foundation, based mostly on proposals from states and UTs, that are to be backed with utilisation certificates referring to the earlier batch of allocation.
“There was considerable delay in providing utilisation certificates (UC) by the welfare institutions concerned as routine functioning in most of the departments/institutions was adversely affected due to Covid-19. There were also variations in UCs submitted by the department’s officers. Moreover, the department was occupied with various food relief measures during the lockdown. Various new schemes such as Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, Atma Nirbhar Bharat scheme, Mukhya Mantri Corona Shayata Yojana were announced to tackle the food security situation. Due to this, disposal of other routine matters could not be fast tracked or prioritised,” the division instructed The Indian Express.
“No communication/instruction was received from the Government of India regarding functioning of the scheme during the Covid-19 outbreak or that any retrospective proposals will not be henceforth entertained by the ministry,” it added.
It mentioned the Delhi authorities has written to the Centre once more to rethink its stand in view of the “unprecedented circumstances and needs of the beneficiaries”.