CM Arvind Kejriwal announces free ration, pension, food for poor amid COVID-19


  • In his first digital-only press conference, CM Arvind Kejriwal urges people to practice social distancing and stay indoors
  • Free ration for April with 50% more quantity than normal to 72 lakh beneficiaries: CM Kejriwal
  • 8.5 lakh pensioners to be given double pension amount by April 7: CM Kejriwal
  • Delhi Govt. to provide free meals in 220 night shelters with immediate effect: CM Kejriwal
  • We have decided to suspend 50% buses tomorrow in wake of Janata Curfew: CM Kejriwal
  • Gatherings comprising of more than 5 people banned in Delhi: CM Kejriwal

New Delhi: Amid the surge in cases of Coronavirus in Delhi, CM Arvind Kejriwal announced a heap of measures, such as doubling pension under various pension schemes of the Delhi government, free ration for 72 lakh beneficiaries and free food in the night shelters across the city. In his first digital-only press conference, Delhi Chief Minister appealed to the people to practice social distancing. He said that his government has not imposed a lockdown for now, but would have to do if the need arises in the future.

CM Arvind Kejriwal said, “The Delhi government is taking all possible measures to tackle Coronavirus in close coordination and cooperation with the Central government and the people of Delhi. Delhi has witnessed 26 Corona cases to date, along with one unfortunate death. Out of these, 4 cases were spread by local transmission, and 22 cases had travel history. So, the spread of the virus has not been intense until now. But, we need to take all possible precautions. We have seen how the virus has spread in Italy, Iran, and China, and we do not want that to happen in Delhi and the entire country. I know these measures are causing a hindrance in the normal lives of the people, but only we can save ourselves from this.”

Following the press conference, Mr. Kejriwal tweeted, “Corona restrictions causing terrible financial stress to poor. Following decisions taken to provide them relief- 1. Rs 4000- 5000 pension will be paid to 8.5 lakh beneficiaries by 7 Apr.. 2. Free rations, with 50% more quantity than normal entitlements, to 72 lakh beneficiaries”

“If you follow all the measures and Do’s and Dont’s that have been ascribed, such as not shaking hands, regularly washing hands, social distancing, staying at home as long as you can, we will be able to save ourselves and our family from Corona,” he added.

CM Arvind Kejriwal announced that his government has decided to revise the ban on the public gatherings in the city, from 20 people to five people at once. He said, “We are going to issue the orders soon. In case there is a queue, people are requested to maintain a distance of 5 meters between each other.”

Mr. Kejriwal announced that 50% of the buses will not ply on the roads of Delhi in the wake of anata Curfew announced by the Hon’ble Prime Minister on Sunday. The Delhi Metro has decided to suspend all its services. “A lot of public transport such as autos and taxis will also not be running. We have deliberated on the decision to suspend bus services for tomorrow. However, suspending bus services will cause a problem in case of emergencies. We have decided that 50% of the buses will not ply on the roads of Delhi tomorrow,” said the CM.

CM Arvind Kejriwal said, “We had also arranged for private quarantine facilities in hotels for people who were dissatisfied with the quarantine facilities set-up by the government. The hotel facilities are paid facilities. Thus, the Delhi government has decided to waive off the GST on these facilities.”

CM Arvind Kejriwal said that the restrictions that have been imposed in the wake of Corona, is causing a financial burden on the poor and daily wage laborers. “We are very worried about them and we do not want them to suffer. We had initially decided to set-up kitchens across the city and distribute free food to the poor, which had to be shunned because free distribution of food will result in mass gathering of the people at a particular spot. Therefore, we have decided to provide 7.5 kilos free rations to 72 lakh beneficiaries attached to our ration scheme for one month. Earlier, wheat was available at Rs. 2/kg, rice at Rs.3/kg and sugar at Rs. 13/kg. Now, the ration will be provided free of cost at 50% more quantity than normal entitlements for April. We will also supply the ration for April, from March 30, because it will take us time to procure the ration from the central government and distribute. I would like to request the people to maintain a distance of one metre between each other in the ration queues. I assure that all of you will get the ration. Around 18 lakh families will be covered under the ration scheme,” he said.

Mr. Arvind Kejriwal said that his government has also decided to double the pension under the widow pension scheme for 2.5 lakh beneficiaries, old-age pension scheme for 5 lakh beneficiaries, and disability pension scheme for 1 lakh beneficiaries. The beneficiaries will get the pension amount for March and April, by April 7. “We hope that all these measures will bring a little relief to these people and their families. In addition to this, we are also arranging for free lunch and dinner facilities in 220 night shelters for every person,” said the CM.

CM Arvind Kejriwal urged the senior citizens to remain indoors, skip morning/evening walks for the time being. He said, “I want to appeal to the senior citizens, especially who are above 60, to stay indoors. Senior citizens are more vulnerable to the Coronavirus. I would request you to stay indoors, skip morning walks, practice yoga and excercise at home, and maintain distance from others even at your home.”

“We are not putting Delhi at a lockdown right now. But if required, we shall do it for the safety and security of the people of Delhi, and the nation,” he added.