She has made India proud by her achievements in tennis. And now Sania Mirza is ‘helping’ her cash-strapped state of Andhra Pradesh save thousands of crores of rupees.
After the recent discovery of a Below the Poverty Line (BPL) ration card (no. 800444) with Sania’s picture on it at a village in Vizianagaram district, the state government has launched a massive operation to weed out bogus cards.
Though the presence of fake ration cards was known for a long time, the unearthing of a card with Sania’s picture — showing the unmarried star as the wife of one Lakshmi Narayana — and the resultant outrage has forced the government to take action.
“Who is responsible for issuing the ration card in the name of Sania Mirza? Has he gone mad?” Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy thundered at a meeting here on Wednesday.
Officials said each BPL cardholder is entitled to subsidised rice at Rs 2 per kg and a host of benefits such as free healthcare, free education, a subsidised house and a monthly pension.
“Weeding out of one bogus card will result in immediate cash savings of Rs 8,400 per year in the form of essential commodities worth Rs 6,000 and a pension of Rs 2,400. The state government will also save Rs 1 lakh in the form of educational facilities and Rs 2 lakh as healthcare,” an official said, requesting anonymity.
There are about 40 lakh fake ration cards in Andhra Pradesh according to the state government’s preliminary estimates.
By cancelling these cards, the government can save thousands of crores of rupees every year.