In a meeting, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit conveyed to Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia that Delhi government would like to see an option of cash transfer to the beneficiaries in the Bill, officials said. Last year, Delhi government had opposed certain provisions of the Bill saying the proposed universalisation of food grain entitlements to majority of the population would be very "difficult to implement".
In a letter to Union Food Minister KV Thomas, the Delhi government had said corruption was rampant in the current public distribution system and desired results would not be achieved if no structural changes were made in distribution mechanism. The Food Security Bill seeks to provide a legal entitlement to subsidised foodgrains to 75 per cent of the country's rural population and 50 per cent of urban India.
The National Advisory Council (NAC), headed by Sonia Gandhi, had recommended to the government to grant legal entitlement of subsidised foodgrains to 75 per cent of population covering both "priority" and "general" households. The city government has been maintaining that it preferred cash entitlements against giving food grains to Below Poverty Line families and other beneficiaries in urban areas while contending that food grains could be provided to the needy families in rural areas.
The Delhi government had urged the Centre several times to allow providing cash entitlements to the beneficiaries instead of food grain. In her meeting with Ahluwalia, Dikshit also raised the issue of problems being faced by various departments and agencies of her government in not getting "timely" allotment of land from DDA for projects like hospitals, schools and colleges.