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Friday, Nov 22, 2019

Where are the PDS beneficiaries? Rajasthan government is looking for answers

In last 12 months, 3 million people in Rajasthan haven’t turn up to claim ration from Fair Price Shops for two months in a row

jaipur Updated: Oct 23, 2019 09:55 IST
Rakesh Goswami
Rakesh Goswami
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
In last 12 months, 3 million people in Rajasthan haven’t turn up to claim ration from Fair Price Shops for two months in a row.
In last 12 months, 3 million people in Rajasthan haven’t turn up to claim ration from Fair Price Shops for two months in a row.(HT file photo)

Rajasthan government is looking for answers. Its food department has begun an exercise to look for those people eligible for procuring food grains from fair price shops (FPSs) but have not turned up for two consecutive months.

In last 12 months, around three million people have been put on ‘abeyance list’, which is a compilation of names of those beneficiaries who have not turned for two months in a row. In Rajasthan, around 48 million people are beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act (NFSA). But, every month fewer people take ration and the department is now out to solve this mystery.

“We want to do away with the abeyance list. There will be only two lists – that of eligible people and ineligible people. Even if a person doesn’t take ration for several months, if eligible, he will continue to be on the list of beneficiaries,” said Siddharth Mahajan, secretary of food and civil supplies department.

He said the department was worried about people who may be eligible but not taking ration for lack of awareness. “We will ask district administrations to run campaigns to make them aware and organize addition of names in the ‘NFSA Yes’ list,” he said.

The food department has written to all 33 district collectors (DCs) to seek information about people not taking ration for more than two months. The DCs have to provide the information in a printed format by November 30, the order said.

The format has eight possible reasons for people not taking PDS ration. These are temporary migration, permanent migration, death, duplicate ration cards, government job, figuring in the NFSA exclusion list, lack of information and others. The abeyance list has also been uploaded on the supply chain management (SCM) portal of the food department.

The order to DCs said people in the abeyance list, who are not getting ration because they are in the exclusion list, should be removed from the list of beneficiaries. “Such people will be marked NFSA ‘No’ in the online portal,” it added.

Eligible families in the abeyance list should start getting ration after November 30 and ineligible people should be marked as ineligible by that cut-off date, the order from the department to the DCs said.

In September 2018, the department notified the inclusion and exclusion list under the NFSA in urban and rural areas. There are 32 criteria for inclusion and seven for exclusion. BPL, State BPL, single women, registered labourers, rickshaw-pullers, people with leprosy, people with AIDS, physically and mentally disabled, elderly couple without children and transgender people are in the inclusion list.

The exclusion list includes people who file income tax returns, who own a four-wheeler apart from a commercial vehicle for livelihood or a tractor for agricultural purpose, who own more than 2 hectares land and families whose annual income is more than Rs 1 lakh.