Delhi govt willing to hike social entitlements for poor; Dikshit

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New Delhi, May 19 (UNI) Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit today said her government was willing to increase social entitlements for the poor under various schemes and was contemplating introducing smart cards for them under the Public Distribution System (PDS).

"There are 45 schemes pertaining to the welfare of the underprivileged people, being executed by the state government.

Money is not a problem. We are willing to increase social entitlements being provided under these schemes", Ms Dikshit said while addressing a conference here.

The event, organised by the Delhi government and Institute of Human Development, was also addressed by Planing Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia. The two-day conference was entitled, "Strengthening delivery of social services in Delhi--A Convergece Model for Empowering the Poor." The idea of introducing smart cards under the PDS and other sectors was mooted by Dr Ahluwalia, who said the poor should be able to buy their rations from any shop against swiping of smart cards.

The shopkeepers could then take from the government the subsidy element. This would also take care of the quality aspects of the food items then.

Dr Ahluwalia said the concept of smart cards could be extended to other areas also, like education.

In this context, he said, the Jharkhand government had introduced such a scheme for street children and the programme had been a success with many street chidren taking admission in various schools.

The Jharkhand government enjoined upon parents of street children to get their children enrolled in any school and use the smart card for using the subsidy element related with the enrollment of their children.

Ms Dikshit commended the idea and said such a plan was under the consideration of the government.

The Chief Minister gave an overview of the schemes pertainig to the underprivileged being run by the government of NCT of Delhi.

She said the State government favoured convergence of such schemes for purposes of efficiency. Besides, it was wanting to introduce a single window scheme so that the benficiaries did not run from pillar to post to avail of the opportunites meant for the poor.

UNI GS GT HT1545

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