The Delhi government will soon start distributing new ration cards to families which will get highly subsidised foodgrains under the centre's food security scheme.
Delhi food and civil supplies minister Haroon Yusuf said the department was deliberating on the format of the new card to be issued to 5,22,537 families.
With a large number of fake ration cards also in circulation, Yusuf said the new cards would give them the correct number of genuine card holders. "We are exploring the possibility of introducing smart cards.
Through this, we will be able to plug the leakages in the public distribution system," he said.
Meanwhile, chief minister Sheila Dikshit met Union food minister KV Thomas on Wednesday to discuss the scheme. Senior Delhi government officials said Dikshit "sought certain clarifications" on the modalities for selecting beneficiaries of the scheme.
Thomas, sources said, raised some issues when Dikshit was making a presentation on the road map for the scheme on July 13. While she mentioned the number of beneficiaries under the scheme was 32 lakh, Thomas told her that the number was 72 lakh.
She was told to get a fresh survey done to draw a comprehensive list of beneficiaries.
Dikshit has already expressed her intention to make Delhi the first state in the country to implement the scheme from September 1. With assembly elections just round the corner, sources said, the scheme can prove to be a game-changer.
"We already have a database of the beneficiaries who are getting food grains from ration shops. In phase I, we will cover the beneficiaries getting ration under the Antodaya Yojana along with the below poverty line and above poverty line ration-card holders who live in resettlement colonies and slum clusters," said a senior Delhi government official.
Yusuf said about one lakh families who are getting cash subsidy of R600 a month will be given the option to either continue to get the amount or join the food security programme.
Residents of slums or resettlement colonies, families with disabled members, widows and divorced women and occupationally vulnerable groups like rickshaw pullers and ragpickers with family income of less than R1 lakh will be covered.
Under the programme, the nation's three-fourth population will get rice at R3 per kg, wheat at R2 per kg and coarse cereals at R1 per kg.