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Shiv Bhojan Thali scheme

Context:

One of the most popular initiatives of the previous Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra was the Shiv Bhojan Thali, a form of subsidised meal scheme. With the new Eknath Shinde-led dispensation coming to power in the state, the scheme is under the scanner.

Relevance:

GS II: Government policies and Interventions

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is Shiv Bhojan Thali scheme?
  2. What is the controversy over the scheme?
  3. What is the present status of the scheme?

What is Shiv Bhojan Thali scheme?

  • The scheme offered a full meal thali (plate) to people for Rs 10.
  • The thali included two chapatis, vegetables, rice, and dal.
  • In urban areas, the cost of the thali came to Rs 50, and in rural areas, the amount was Rs 35.
    • It was sold by canteens for Rs 10, with the government compensating the rest of the amount.
  • Seen as the Uddav Thackeray government’s flagship scheme, the Shiv Bhojan Thali was launched on January 26, 2020, and on average, 1.4 lakh meals were served under it daily.
  • During the Covid-19 pandemic, the government had initially slashed the prices of the thali to Rs 5.
  • Then from April 2021, the meal was given free of cost, with parcel services allowed too.
  • As the pandemic was brought under control and the lockdown was lifted in phases, the price was brought back to Rs 10 in October 2021.

What is the controversy over the scheme?

  • Among the last few decisions of the MVA government was to increase the number of plates being served under this scheme across the state to 2 lakh, from the existing 1,88,463.
  • However, after the new government of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was sworn in on June 30, all decisions taken by the previous dispensation were stayed and underwent scrutiny.
  • The decision to increase the number of thalis was also kept in abeyance.
What is the present status of the scheme?
  • As per the data, Maharashtra has a total of 1,699 eateries serving Shiv Bhojan thalis, out of which 1,549 are active.
  • The present number of approved thalis in the state is 1,88,463.
  • The number of actual plates distributed is 1,45,627.

-Source: Indian Express


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