Introduced by the Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje, the scheme Annapurna Rasoi yojana. Along the pattern of J. Jayalalithaa’s subsidized ‘Amma canteens’, Raje government launched its very own ‘Rajasthani’ variant of the low priced kitchens for the poor– where a single meal cost from Rs 5 to Rs 8 per plate, in the last quarter of 2016.
Rajasthan is a major tourist attraction and takes great pride in its vivid food culture.
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Why did the government introduce the Annapurna Rasoi Yojna?
The heavily subsidized scheme was brought into action because of the incoming labor class that headway in Rajasthan, in search of work. Gradually, with the changing times, Rajasthan has emerged as a potential performer in key sectors like agriculture, milk production, animal husbandry, business, manufacturing, and education. As a result, a number of migrants from other states like Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh etc. arrive in Rajasthan for better food prospects. This elevates burden on the existing food productivity of the state.
Annapurna Rasoi menu features nutritious delicacies made of corn, wheat, rice, grains and local vegetables. Rajasthani staples like:
Besan Gatta curry,
Gehu ka Mitha Khichda,
Baajre ki Khichdi, Dal Dhokli,
Baaje ki Khichdi, etc. are a part of daily meals.
How many Vans are available and what is the total cost of the Yojana?
At present, 80 Annapurna Rasoi mobile vans are on the run in 12 districts of Rajasthan. 5 fully functional Annapurna vans in Jaipur are available near SMS hospital, Sodal, Gurjar ki Thadi and other such areas with high footfall. Each van has 4 members, including a supervisor, helper, and the cooks. A public trust bears the responsibility of maintaining these mobile kitchens. The government is in the process of launching 25 such vans in Jaipur by the year end.
As per Estimates, 200 fully-operational Annapurna Rasoi vans will Put an Additional Burden of Rs 50 Crore on the State
As the state continues to enjoy free meals, the state is struggling to provide healthy meals within the budget. Currently, the Annapurna mobile kitchens serve breakfast at Rs 5 and Lunch/Dinner at Rs 8 per plate, whereas the actual cost of the breakfast is Rs 21.70/plate. Lunch and dinner cost Rs 23.70/plate. In short, the government pays Rs. 16.70 (per plate for breakfast) and Rs 15.70 (per plate for lunch or dinner).
As of now, about 1,500 people in Jaipur get benefited from nutritious meals served at Annapurna Rasoi’s. Getting as many people as possible in front of the plates is a tough task for the government. Apart from Jaipur, the vans are currently serving Ajmer, Jodhpur, Kota, Jhalarapatan-Jhalawar, Bharatpur, Udaipur, Baran, Pratapgarh, Banswara and Dungarpur
The vision for the Annapurna Rasoi Yojna.
Before 2020, the government aims to launch 300 Annapurna vans in different cities. Initially, Rs 14 crores were sanctioned as the Annapurna Rasoi budget. Nevertheless, launching the scheme elsewhere will cause additional pressure on the state exchequer.
To cope with the problem, Raje government came up with the idea of sponsoring meals at the Annapurna Rasoi’s. According to the DLB (Directorate of Local Bodies) officers, the government will invite people to sponsor Annapurna meals, a strategy that will help the kitchens surpass their limit of serving 100 meals in a slot.
Currently, the authorities are in the process of setting up a new website and toll-free number. A separate bank account will be opened for public transactions. Manjeet Singh, Principal Secretary of LSG (Local Self-Governance) believes that this way, people can dedicate meals for special occasions like birthdays, death anniversaries and religious celebrations.
With this, the fate of the ambitious Annapurna Rasoi Yojana is quite clear. As strugglers struggle with daily wages, the government tries to ease this burden. So, yes, all these efforts are worth a million dollar smile that adorns several satisfied faces.