Do you belong to the middle class and have you recently used your ration card as proof of identity to avail of any government scheme? Be informed that you might have committed an illegality as the state government abolished ration cards for Above Poverty Line (APL) two months ago.
However, as with most government decisions most stakeholders do not seem to have been informed and its use as a proof of residence continues.
Residents continue to use the ration card as proof and this has thus led to confusion.
On September 29, Punjab government’s secretary in the department of food, supplies and consumer affairs issued orders that Above Poverty Line (APL) category has been abolished and no ration card was to be issued to general public.
It was also specified that existing APL ration cards should not be used as ‘proof of identity or residence’.
With the new stipulation not being widely circulated, the majority of those affected are not aware of the new rule, even those who are supposed to be well-versed and informed.
Ludhiana (West) sub-division grievances redressal committee Dr Satish Thaman said, “I am not aware that the government has discontinued the use of ration cards as proof of residence. Only last month I wrote to the minister of food and civil supplies, Punjab, to start a drive on preparation of ration cards. The authorities have neither advertised nor informed the residents of this decision.”
Another resident Ankita Joshi said, “There is no information provided to the public. I visited a private bank recently to open an account and I was told that ration cards can be used as residence proof.”
District food and civil supplies controller Sona Thind said, “The ration card service has been abolished at Suwidha centres and we have directed these centres not to issue any more cards. The category of Below poverty line (BPL) has also been abolished and a new category, Priority Households has been introduced. The households to be covered as priority households under the targeted public distribution system are to be identified in accordance with the guidelines specified by the state government.”