A government survey released on Wednesday shows that the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) possess the most number of Below Poverty Line (BPL) ration cards in India.
The National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) found that 42 per cent of the OBC population in rural India and 35 per cent in urban India possess ration cards, indicating their financial status.
BPL ration cards are issued on the basis of a certain annual income fixed by the state governments on basis of the state quota earmarked by the Centre. "But the figures indicate that a huge population of OBCs are not financially sound," a government official said.
Scheduled Castes in rural areas are no better. About 22 per cent of them avail BPL card facilities, which is about five percentage points more than their share in the country's population. However, they are much better in urban areas with only 16 per cent of SCs owning a BPL card.
In a similar comparison done for the poorest of poor ration cards, called Antyodaya cards, OBCs fare better than SCs and STs. About five per cent of STs and 4.5 per cent of SCs in rural areas have Antyodaya cards as compared to just two per cent OBCs. Urban areas do not have many Antyodaya cardholders. "This shows that despite reservation for SC and STs, the majority in the lowest financial strata of the society are from these two sections," an official said.