Critics have got it wrong, Annashree money meant to supplement other schemes: Sheila

Sonia Gandhi

Under fire for her suggestion that a family of five could purchase a month's ration of rice, wheat and pulses for Rs 600, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Sunday claimed that her statement had been taken out of context.

With the BJP cashing in on the criticism against Dikshit's statement, the Chief Minister held her ground claiming that the critics had "failed to understand" the Delhi government scheme she was referring to.

On Saturday, Dikshit and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi had launched the Dilli Annashree Yojana, which promises a monthly cash transfer of Rs 600 directly into the Aadhaar-linked bank accounts of the senior-most female member of 6 lakh families from economically weaker sections. Addressing the public rally, Dikshit had said that a family of five could use the money to buy rice, dal and wheat.

The Opposition BJP on Sunday criticised Dikshit claiming she was not aware of the cost of rice and flour. "It seems she has never been to a jhuggi cluster or a village in Delhi. This scheme is nothing but an election propaganda," former BJP MP Vijay Goel said.

Rubbishing BJP's claim, Dikshit said: "This is a unique scheme, meant to be a support system, in addition to all other welfare schemes of the Central and state government. While conducting a survey, we found that several women complained of not being able to purchase household items like milk or medicines. This scheme is meant to address such issues," Dikshit said.

According to Dikshit, the Delhi government had reached its quota of assisting Below Poverty Line (BPL) families under the public distribution system (PDS). "There are already 4.09 lakh BPL families in Delhi and we found that there were at least another 2 lakh families who required assistance and food security. The Annashree Yojana is meant to supplement other existing welfare schemes," Dikshit said.

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