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Below poverty line and riding a Honda City

The Govt decides to crack down on fraudulent ration-card holders, who have classified themselves as being BPL with Food and Supplies Department, reports Amitabh Shukla.
Hindustan Times | By Amitabh Shukla, New Delhi
UPDATED ON APR 06, 2008 03:04 AM IST

Believe it or not — but someone who owns, and drives a Honda City, has classified himself as being “Below Poverty Line (BPL)” with the Food and Supplies Department (FSD). The FSD only gives subsidised ration, as part of the Public Distribution System (PDS), to those whose annual income is less than Rs 1 lakh a year — and the below-Rs 1 lakh group is categorised as BPL.

The Honda City owner’s self-affidavit said his annual income was below Rs 1 lakh. Giving him company in the BPL list is the owner of a Blueline bus. And a teacher running a coaching centre, owning a flat in an upmarket colony.

The facts came to light during a PDS review chaired by chief minister Sheila Dikshit on Saturday.

Officials at the FSD made a rough calculation. A Honda City costs between Rs 8 to 10 lakhs. The Blueline owner was earning at least 20,000 a month after paying salaries to the driver and other staff.

FSD officials said people wanted to declare themselves poor to escape the dragnet of the Income Tax department. Fake affidavits started being filed after the government decided to give only those cardholders ration cards who had an annual income of up to Rs 1 lakh. Existing cardholders had to give a self-affidavit of their income.

“We have now decided that if a person gives a false affidavit about his income, a criminal case would be registered and proceedings initiated. We are in no mood to spare these people who want to gobble the ration meant for the poor,” said Food and Supplies Minister Haroon Yusuf.

FSD officials also added that since the government imposed the Rs 1 lakh income ceiling, over 10 lakh people are now out of the PDS.

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