Taking a leaf out of the popular Amma Canteen model launched by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is planning to set up Aam Aadmi canteens, which will provide "good quality food at highly subsidised rates". Kejriwal on Thursday approved the proposal by Delhi Dialogue Commission (DDC) for the scheme.
The new scheme will replace the existing Jan Aahar, another populist scheme introduced by the previous Sheila Dikshit government.
"The Jan Aahar experiment was not good and it has collapsed. The quality of food was poor and hygiene was not being maintained due to lax monitoring, in spite of the fact that food was priced at around ₹20," DDC vice chairman Ashish Khetan told reporters.
Under the new proposal, the canteens, which would initially come up in industrial areas, hospitals, educational institutions and commercial hubs, will provide food at a price tag of ₹5-10 for the working class population. These include not only students and office-goers, but also construction workers, slum dwellers and street hawkers, who form a large part of Delhi's demography.
"Today the choice is limited for the poor when it comes to having nutritious food. They have to depend on food that is often unhygienic yet pricey," Khetan said. The canteens will be set up based on models of mainly two states - Tamil Nadu and Odisha - where similar schemes exist, he added.
The canteens, which comes under the Food and Civil Supplies Department, will be managed by NGOs or private agencies.