The State government on Thursday decided not to issue Below Poverty Line (BPL) ration cards based on the family income and introduced a set of guidelines to identify BPL families.
Food and Civil Supplies Minister D N Jeevraj told reporters the department has listed out 15 categories of families which are not entitled for BPL cards. They include those with a two-wheeler with 100 CC capacity, a government employee, an income-tax payer and those having three hectares of dry land. “Any family, which doesn’t fall under the 15 categories, will be eligible for holding a BPL card. A government order in this regard will be issued in a day or two,” he stated.
He said the hitherto followed system of issuing BPL cards based on income limit -- Rs 17,000 per annum in urban areas and Rs 12,000 per annum in rural areas -- was highly impractical.
The minister cited the example of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), wherein daily wage is Rs 155 per day.
“If we calculate it for 200 days labour (both husband and wife) per year, the total income of the family goes up to Rs 31,000, much above the existing income limit for obtaining a BPL card,” he said.
The department also finds it difficult to verify the authenticity of income certificates submitted by applicants seeking BPL cards. Lakhs of ineligible people have already obtained bogus BPL cards by submitting fake income certificates. By doing away with the income limit system, the department has put an end to the problem, official sources said. When questioned about those families who have already obtained the card but are not eligible according to the new norms, the minister said discussions are on to deal with such cases and those cards will be converted into Above Poverty Line (APL) cards.
Food and Civil Supplies Department Principal Secretary B A Harish Gowda said the main idea behind the exercise was to avoid the role of income certificate in obtaining the ration cards.
“Since there was no clear cut criteria from the central government to identify the BPL families, the state government has taken this initiative to revise the criteria,” he said.
Jeevaraj added that as many as 60 per cent of those applied for ration cards online were yet to give biometric details. “We have found some sort of hesitation from public in giving bio-metric details and photo identity. I request the public to come out of any such fears and co-operate with the department for weeding out bogus ration cards,” he said.
He also said in urban areas, the problem was other way round. “We are aware of long queues in front of photo biocentres for giving biometric details in urban areas. If needed number of photo biocentres will be increased for smooth enrolment,” he said.
Officials said there are 1.38 crore ration cards 30 lakh of them are temporary.
“As many as 31 lakh people have filed new applications for ration cards and document verification is on. During the first batch of verification, we have rejected as many as 4 lakh applications for not producing necessary documents,” said a senior official.