Families who have been furnished ration cards under the high-income group status and are not utilising it, but merely holding on to them as address proofs, stand the risk of their cards being cancelled. The divisional food and supply department has decided to cancel more than 15 lakh such ration cards, as they are not being used to procure subsidised food grains made available under the Public Distribution System (PDS).
The decision was taken after the introduction of the food security programme that ensures that poor population across the nation would get only two cards -- priority and non-priority card. Priority card is for beneficiaries of Central government’s antyodaya anna yojana and people coming under the below poverty line category. Non-priority cards are for people having an annual income between Rs 25,000 to 1 lakh.
“I am submitting a letter to the secretary of the state food and civil supply department today, suggesting him to cancel the ration card of all those card holders in the division, whose yearly income is more than Rs 1.5 lakh,” said Divisional Additional Commissioner (supply) Prakash Kadam. The Pune division includes the five district of Pune, Sangli, Satara, Kolhapur and Solapur.
Apart from cancelling the ration cards falling under the high-income group category, people paying income tax and having their own or renting a house with an area of more than 1,000 sq-feet in urban areas would also be cancelled, said Kadam. According to the information collated by the department, in Pune district alone, around five lakh non-utilised ration cards stand to becancelled.
However, the cancellation won’t make any difference according to the senior District Food Distribution Officer who said that the Central and state government had already issued directives that ration card is to be utilised exclusively to obtain essential commodities from shops under the PDS and not as a address proof. Meanwhile, the officials of divisional food and civil supply said that the cancellation of non-utilized ration cards does not mean that the ratio of distribution of food grains would be reduced. Kadam said that the food distribution ratio across the division would increase by around 24 percent. “As 75 percent of the food grains would now go to rural population where maximum beneficiaries are entitled to get 35 kg food grains, the ratio of food grain distribution would significantly increase. Presently, most of the beneficiaries are entitled to get only 25 kg food grain,” said Kadam.
Despite directives from the Central and state government specifying not to use ration card as address proof, the ration card is mentioned as 'optional address proof' in the 'necessary documents' column of the application form for a passport, aadhaar card, learning license and to open a bank account.