More than 850,000 of Delhi’s 1.8 million ration card holders are suspected to be bogus, a government enrolment drive has found out.
Delhi government had launched the initiative to update their database and enrol people for providing subsidised ration under the food security scheme, which caters to nearly 6.5 million people in the Capital.
After the scheme was rolled out last year, about 632,000 card holders under various categories — below poverty line, Antyodaya Anna Yojana, jhuggi ration cards and resettlement colony ration cards — were automatically included and started getting subsidised ration.
“Immediately after, we launched a drive asking everyone to come forward so that we could update their information but 152,000 didn’t come forward, despite several opportunities. We have now stopped their ration supply as we suspect these are bogus cases,” said a senior Delhi government official.
In addition, the government asked 1.15 million people — under the above poverty line (APL) category — to enrol for the programme. These people weren’t part of the food security scheme when it was launched last year but received ration under existing plans.
“Out of the 1.15 million, 700,000 didn’t enrol themselves, despite several reminders. We immediately stopped their ration in July. We suspect these card holders do not exist and some fair price shop owners were using them to divert food grains,” the official said.
But enrolment is still on and if some of these defaulters are still able to provide details, they will be included, the official added. More than 500,000 new ration cards have been issued in the Capital to extend the food security scheme, he said.
Delhi was the first state in the country to roll out the food security scheme in September 2013. Under the scheme – launched in two phases – the eldest woman in a family gets rice for Rs. 3 and wheat for Rs. 2 per kilogram respectively.
Any family whose annual income is less than Rs. 1 lakh is eligible for the scheme.