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Delhi govt to conduct door-to-door verification of ration card holders

cities Updated: Sep 30, 2019 19:38 IST
Abhishek Dey
Abhishek Dey
Hindustantimes
         

New Delhi: The Delhi government will conduct door-to-door verification of ration card holders and beneficiaries of the public distribution system in the city starting October, senior government officials said on Sunday. The move is aimed at identifying beneficiaries who have become ineligible over a period of time since their cards were made.

A circular regarding this was issued by the department of food supplies and consumer affairs of the Delhi government on September 25. Hindustan Times has seen the circular.

Delhi currently has more than two million ration card holders (households) and the number of beneficiaries are estimated to be around eight million. Of the two million ration cards, around 0.42 million are the ones on which ration was not availed for three consecutive months at any given point in 2018-19, government data showed.

The door-to-door verification drive is expected to cover at least one-fifth of the total number of households with ration cards. Those households who do not procure ration for at least three consecutive months at any given point of time will be prioritised for the verification drive, the government officials said.

According to the circular, food security circle officers have been asked to ensure that each field official under their jurisdiction conduct door-to-door verification of at least 20 households every week.

“The field verification of existing (ration) card holders and beneficiary members included in the card will be carried out by the field staff of the department for identification of non-existent beneficiaries who have become ineligible as per the exclusion criteria over a period of time since the card was made,” said the circular.

Earlier, fair price shop (FPS) owners were entrusted with verifying ration cards in areas under their jurisdiction by periodic audit of records of card holders maintained by the government. The focus was on those in which ration was not availed for three consecutive months, the officials said.

The next step demanded a physical verification by the fair price shop licence holder and in case any names were struck off, the FPS owners would have to inform the concerned food security officers and the records would have been eventually updated, the senior officials said.

Under the new system, the 2,255 fair price shops in the city would have to provide lists of ration card holders to the food security circle officers concerned. The officers would do the verification and then prepare a list of card holders who can potentially face exclusion. However, the final call on action to be taken will still remain with the fair price shop licensee, as it is mandated under the National Food Security Act, the officials said.

Earlier this year, an umbrella association of FPS licence holders in Delhi had moved the court with a plea that sought quashing of two government notifications — one issued in 2009 and the other in 2018. Those notifications mandated that verification of ration cards would be done by fair price shop licence holders.

In May this year, FPS licensees had told the Delhi High Court that they should not be tasked with verifying the ration card holders as it is the duty of the Delhi government officials.

The court had issued a notice to the Delhi government, asking it to indicate on affidavit who was responsible for carrying out the survey. The court had listed the matter for further hearing on October 1.

First Published: Sep 30, 2019 19:38 IST

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