Nearly 51 lakh bogus ration cards were deleted from the list of beneficiaries of subsidised foodgrains by state governments during 2008 and 2009, Parliament was informed on Tuesday.
While the number of ration cards deleted in 2008 was 35.74 lakh, another 15.21 lakh were cancelled in the next year.
So far, in the current year, 12,000 fake ration cards have been deleted from the list, Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution K V Thomas said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.
"Instructions have also been issued to all states and Union Territories to carry out an intensive campaign to eliminate ineligible/bogus ration cards and to take action as per law against the person found in possession of bogus/fake ration cards," Thomas added.
Of the total number of cards deleted, over 31.5 lakh are from West Bengal. Gujarat comes a distant second, with 8.28 lakh bogus cards removed from the list in the past two years.
The Targeted Public Distribution System, under which subsidised foodgrains are distributed, is jointly operated by the central and state governments.
However, the operational responsibilities for allocation of foodgrains within the states, identification of eligible Below Poverty Line families and issuance of ration cards rest with the state governments.
"There have been reports of inclusion as well as exclusion errors in issuance of ration cards under the TPDS," Thomas admitted.