Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to restore the sugar subsidy in its entirety keeping the “hardship” of the poor in mind. Kejriwal, in a letter to Modi dated June 13, said the decision of the Centre comes at a time when earnings of the poor as well as of the rich have taken a hit.”There has been a rise in unemployment and incomes have come down irrespective of the rich or the poor. In these circumstances, the decision to end sugar subsidy is not right,” he wrote. The sugar subsidy was discontinued with effect from March 2017. The Union food ministry as well as some states had been keen on its continuance for at least families covered under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY). Subsequently, the government recently decided to restore the subsidy for states to ensure sale of 1 kg of sugar at a cheaper rate for 2.5 crore AAY families, the poorest of the poor, under the public distribution system (PDS).
A decision in this regard was taken at the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) headed by the prime minister. In the 2017 Budget, the government withdrew the sugar subsidy and earmarked only Rs 200 crore to clear past claims. For the last fiscal, Rs 4,500 crore were allocated for the scheme that covered BPL families too.