Sonia Gandhi launches Delhi's food security scheme

New Delhi, Dec 15 (IANS) Congress president Sonia Gandhi Saturday launched the Delhi government's food security programme for two lakh poor families that are not getting benefits under other welfare schemes.

Under the programme, a monthly cash subsidy of Rs.600 will be transferred directly into the bank account of the senior-most female member of a household.

"The Delhi government's move is an important step in the direction of becoming a hunger-free state," Gandhi said while launching the scheme.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and other cabinet ministers were present on the occasion.

The new programme will not cover those enrolled under the Antyodaya Anna Yojna, a central government-funded scheme for providing foodgrain to the poor.

Dikshit said that the food security programme was "not an alternative to the PDS (public distribution system) but an extension of the existing food security efforts being undertaken under it".

The programme will be effective from April 1 and a lumpsum amount equivalent to eight months' subsidy - Rs.4,800 - will be deposited in each account in the first tranche.

The food security scheme was announced in Delhi's budget 2012-13.

The government has tied up with the six major banks to facilitate opening of bank accounts on the basis of Aadhaar cards issed by the central government's Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).

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