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Dikshit needs to be careful with words

Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit has courted controversy by creating a misunderstanding by her statement at the launch of Annashree Yojana, a scheme to transfer cash directly to the account of the below poverty line (BPL) vulnerable households which are not covered under the public distribution schemes. The chief minister at the launch of the scheme on Saturday in the presence of Congress president Sonia Gandhi said, ‘In Rs. 600, he would get dal, rice and wheat...A family of five can easily complete their needs.’ While the statement left her party uncomfortable as it seeks to take the cash transfer scheme across to all the states, it gave that rare opportunity to her political rivals to pounce of her.

A Delhi BJP release castigated the chief minister for her statement claiming that as per Dikshit’s calculations, ‘One person can manage on Rs. 4 per day. The chief minister has never visited a slum or unauthorised colony till date, nor has she ever gone to a village. Hence, she is unaware of the ground realities despite being a woman.’ But more than the Opposition, what should worry Dikshit is that her efforts to take food security to the doorsteps of the most vulnerable would come to a naught if the poor too start to look at her statement as a rude joke. The chief minister later clarified that her statement was in a larger context as the scheme sought to give ‘dal, roti and rice’ to even those who were not covered by the PDS as part of the food security scheme. Annashree scheme takes into the ambit of food security those vulnerable families which are left out of the PDS system because of the numerical cap on number of BPL families. The upper limit of the BPL households in respect of Delhi has been fixed by the Planning Commission/Government of India as 4.09 lakh. The Planning Commission has prescribed that a household with annual income of up to Rs 24,200 will be treated as a BPL household. Clarifications not withstanding, launch of a good scheme for the poor has got marred by the controversy. Having been in politics for long and at the helm of Delhi government for 14 years now, Dikshit would appreciate that it would help her to be more careful with her words especially with a pro-active media always looking for a faux pass to play on.
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