May 2020 \
“Centre must handhold states till economy is back on track”

With the Bhilwara Model paving way for the global world to strategise in its fight against an unseen enemy—the COVID-19 virus, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot was congratulated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for taking new initiatives to fight the pandemic during a video conferencing session held with the state CMs on Monday. IANS spoke to Gehlot in an e-interview to know more about these new initiatives being introduced in the state. Gehlot who has been leading from the front in the battle against the COVID-19 crisis in the state, in the e-interview, highlighted the challenges which were successfully eliminated to make the Bhilwara model a success on the global map. He further discussed the way forward for the state economy which is in shambles following the pandemic outbreak. He talked about the initiatives taken by his Government to ensure that “no one sleeps hungry in Rajasthan”. The CM said that Rajasthan probably is the first state in the country to have announced an econo

By Archana Sharma

The model has been shared in Canada too; any feedback from there?

The Ambassador of India to Canada showed keen interest in the Bhilwara Model and in his own wisdom, he shared the model with the Canadian Government. The ruthlessness with which the infection was contained in Bhilwara was appreciated by one and all within and outside India. The success of the model is shown by the fact that 25 of the 27 positive cases stand totally recovered now and have returned home. I am not aware of any specific feedback from the Government of Canada. But part of the best practices is put to use by different countries as per their suitability.

Your recent announcement to buy wheat under National Food Security Act scheme is yet again a very positive initiative for the poor? How does the state Government plan to handle the plight of poor?

The State Government has been proactive in making all possible arrangements to ensure that not a single person remains hungry on any of the days. Regarding your question about purchase of wheat, we have decided to procure wheat from FCI at market price i.e. Rs 21/kg and to distribute it free of cost to 60 lakh needy persons. We were probably the first state in the country to have announced an economic package of Rs 3,000 crore for the poor and destitute. Decision has been taken to provide 10 kg wheat per person for two months to the BPL, State BPL, and families covered under the NFSA.

Besides all these initiatives, economic assistance of Rs 2,500 has been provided to 33 lakh poor people who are not covered under the National Food Security Act and social security pension schemes. These include construction labourers, daily wage earners, street vendors, rag pickers and other deprived people. These people will also be provided packets of dry ration or food free of cost. Over 78 lakh people have been paid social security pension of two months in a short span of a week.