On Wednesday, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal launched the ‘Mukhyamantri Teerth Yatra Yojana’. The scheme is going to benefit 1,100 senior citizens from each of the 70 assembly constituencies in Delhi. These citizens can undertake free pilgrimage.
Delhi residents above 60 years are now eligible to take free pilgrimage along with their spouse. Taking along, an attendant above the age of 20 years, if the applicant or his spouse is above 70 years is also allowed. The expenditure of the attendant will also be borne by the Delhi government.
After the launch the scheme, Kejriwal, in the presence of his council of ministers,said that a country which does not respect and take care of its senior citizens cannot progress.
Kejriwal said,”The scheme was launched with an aim that every elderly person’s desire to undertake a pilgrimage in his life gets fulfilled. I urge all the children and the MLAs to help our elderly register themselves and fill up the forms so that they can avail the service.”
He added, “Those desirous of undertaking the pilgrimage ought to have a voter ID card, medical certificate and recommendation from the area MLA.”
Under the scheme, applications will be received online and selection of pilgrims will be done through a draw. Respective area lawmakers will certify whether the intended beneficiaries belong to Delhi or not. The pilgrimage for three days and two nights can be undertaken on the circuits of 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.
Kejriwal-led AAP government approved the scheme in July.
An official said, “There is no income criteria but preference will be given to those from economically weaker sections on first-come-first-serve basis.”
The Delhi government will bear the expenses of 77,000 pilgrims every year. It has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the railways to cater to the pilgrims availing the scheme.
Employees of central, state and local government or autonomous bodies are not eligible for the scheme.