New Delhi: On Monday, the Delhi government comes with a major decision Mukhyamantri Tirth Yatra Yojana under which 77,000 senior citizens of Delhi will be taken on a two night- three-day pilgrimage entirely funded by the state every year. Five initial routes have been selected for the pilgrimage scheme: Delhi- Mathura – Vrindavan – Agra – Fatehpur Sikri- Delhi; Delhi – Haridwar- Rishikesh- Neelkanth – Delhi; Delhi- Ajmer – Pushkar- Delhi: Delhi – Amritsar – Wagah Border- Anandpur Sahib – Delhi; and Delhi – Vaishno Devi – Jammu – Delhi. More routes are likely to be added later.
People who age 60 and above from Delhi residents can avail the scheme. They will be selected draw of lots. One adult attendant will be allowed to accompany them, and that person’s expenses will also be borne by the government. The applicants should not be employees of central/state/ local government or autonomous bodies. According to government insiders, it was decided that the scheme should be open to everyone and not restricted to the poor because” many children do not support their old parents”. The aged and elderly would be happy to receive support from the government.
Revenue minister Kailash Gahlot said that “Under the scheme, 1,100 senior citizens from each of the 70 assembly constituencies will be selected every year”. The Delhi cabinet had approved the revenue department`s proposal in January, but the scheme could not be rolled out due to objections raised by the LG”.
The scheme has made of the 2018-19 state budget. It caused a major tussle between the AAP government and the LG. The latter asked the government to consider only BPL family for the scheme, but this had been rejected by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.
The LG`s office had clarified that the state government had only been “advised that it would be equitable to have some income criteria to ascertain the eligibility of beneficiaries”.