taking a walk in india: photos | stories | essays

9 February 2016

Jan Ahaar: how not to feed people

Sometimes, good intention looks like the middle finger.

The Delhi government's Jan Ahaar scheme that set out to sell nutritious food at cheap price to poor people--labourers who need high energy food to last the day--are now giving maida bhatura at Rs18 a plate. From 200 stalls in 2012 when the scheme started there are about 40 of them left today. One of India's largest companies had donated some money to the Delhi government to be plonked in the scheme. But that piggy bank is long gone. Some non-profits have taken over Jan Ahaar operations. That's a nice way of saying "contractors". So, instead of food stalls run by people who would directly benefit from sales, contractors bid for the stalls and run them as any other 'canteen'.

At the time the scheme started the Delhi government had said it intended to give a meal having at least 1,000 calories. A plate was supposed to have six puris, four rotis and some rice. But walk in any Jan Ahaar stall and you get the standard two pieces of maida bhatura and chole. That's it. The only people who seem to be eating them at the Jan Ahaar stalls in Delhi's old city area, Chandni Chowk, are mostly shopkeepers who need a quick snack at high noon when customers don't come.

What about the people for whom the stalls were set up in the first place? Food for thought.


take a walk

agra uttar pradesh ashoka road delhi bandipur karnataka beijing china bishnupur manipur burdwan west bengal chanakyapuri delhi chandni chowk delhi chitrakala parishath bangalore karnataka chittaranjan park delhi comic con delhi connaught place delhi dahej gujarat dalhousie himachal pradesh dastkar nature bazaar Delhi days dignagar west bengal dilli haat delhi esplanade kolkata fort kochi kerala gandhi smriti delhi gangtok sikkim gautam nagar delhi gauteng south africa goa grand trunk road west bengal haa valley bhutan hampi karnakata hauz khas village delhi hua hin thailand imphal manipur INA Delhi india gate delhi indian railways isle of wight united kingdom jaipur rajasthan jaisalmer rajasthan janpath delhi jantar mantar delhi jhandewalan delhi kalkaji delhi kandhamal odisha Kasauli Himachal Pradesh kolkata west bengal Kumaon Uttarakhand lajpat nagar delhi langol manipur Lansdowne uttarakhand lodhi road delhi m g road bangalore karnataka Majnu ka Tilla Delhi mali africa mcleod ganj himachal pradesh nagarhole national park karnataka new mehrauli road delhi nizamuddin delhi Nongstoin Meghalaya old delhi Outer Ring Road Delhi palace grounds bangalore karnataka paris france paro bhutan politics pragati maidan delhi rajpath delhi ramlila maidan delhi rishikesh uttarakhand safdarjung enclave delhi saket delhi sandakphu west bengal sariska rajasthan sarojini nagar delhi shahpur jat delhi shillong meghalaya shorts singapore siri fort stadium delhi sri lanka sundar nagar delhi thimphu bhutan Uttarkashi Uttarakhand varanasi uttar pradesh yusuf sarai delhi


Journalist. Taking a walk in India. | Email to journeybasket[at]gmail | Special thanks to M.S. Gopal | All rights reserved. No commercial use.

subscribe to journey basket feed

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

on facebook