Amidst a rising recovery rate and decreasing positivity rate of COVID-19 cases, the Delhi government on May 16th said that they still can’t let their guards down and announced the extension of the ongoing lockdown in the city till May 26th. The complete lockdown in the city has been going on since April 17 resulting in loss of livelihood for a large section of the working-class population including daily wage earners and migrant workers.
After the first week of May, activists of various social organizations including that of Delhi Rozi Roti Adhikar Abhiyan visited around 70 ration shops and in their letter to the CM brought to light that none of them were distributing the food grains that are mandatorily allocated to ration cardholders under PDS. Several demands including the inclusion of everyone who identifies as needy in the provision for free ration were made.
In a press address on Tuesday, more than a week after the letter was submitted and 18 days into the month of May, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced that the Delhi government will be providing 10kgs of free foodgrains to needy people irrespective of whether they are ration card holders or not. For the month of May, this distribution will include 5 kgs of foodgrains under the PDS along with 5kgs of foodgrains under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) solely on the basis of self-identification and without the requirement of an income certificate.
The city currently has 72 lacs ration card holders and since the ration card quota allotted to Delhi has been reached, new ration cards cannot be issued right now.
The Delhi government has also announced that families which lost their family members to COVID-19 will be given an ex gratia amount of Rs. 50,000. Furthermore, families that have lost their breadwinner will be given a pension of Rs. 2,500 per month along with the ex gratia amount. In these cases, the pension will be given to either the spouse of the deceased or their parents
It was announced that children who have been orphaned after the death of anyone of both their parents will be given Rs. 2,500 till they attain the age of 25. Along with that their education will also free.