In August last year, the Delhi government launched a highly subsidised food scheme to provide cheap food grain to the most vulnerable households in the city. Seven months on, middleclass families with cars and an annual income above Rs. 1 lakh are also seeking to illegally benefit from the scheme.
In phase 2 of the programme, Delhi’s food and supplies department received 15.54 lakh applications (catering to about 6.5 million people) for a food security card. Upon verification, the department found that 29,000 applications were filed by families that had an annual income of more than Rs. 1 lakh and in some cases even owned a car.
Delhi government sources said that more bogus claims might be unearthed as only 3.6 lakh applications have been verified so far.
In phase 1, the department had identified 625,000 families eligible for the scheme. It enrolled 450,000 families and issued the cards in September 2013. But on verification, 4,000 families were found to be ineligible because of similar reasons and there benefits were stopped in March this year.
Under the scheme, a family can buy rice for Rs. 3 per kg and wheat for Rs. 2 per kg. For a family to be eligible, it must have an annual income of less than Rs. 1 lakh and shouldn’t own a car among a host of other criteria.