In TN, ration card holders exceed population

In TN, ration card holders exceed population

CAG reports discrepancies in distribution

The number of persons with ration cards in Tamil Nadu, as enumerated under the Public Distribution System (PDS), far exceeds the state’s population.

This was revealed by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) in a report titled “Government of Tamil Nadu (civil) Report” tabled in the Assembly here on Wednesday. While the 2011 census pegs the state’s population at 7.21 crore, number of persons actually enrolled under the family (ration) card stands at 8.37 crore.

To add to the disparity, the report said 195.83 lakh ration cards were issued in the state while the number of households was pegged at 167.77 lakh. This leaves 28.06 lakh unaccounted households. The CAG observed that the process of weeding out the bogus ration card holders should be hastened “to curb possible diversion of PDS commodities to private trade.”

The state government, in its reply, said people were “more vigilant” during enumeration of family cards.

“Households invariably showed separate portions in the same house of a same door number and sought separate ration cards for getting the ration supplies. Hence the two sets of data were not matching,” the CAG report said quoting the state government.

However, the secretary to the state government has informed that the bogus ration cards will be eliminated over the next two to three years after biometric smart cards are issued. Pointing out discrepancies in the verification process, the CAG report said in Chennai district alone (barring one zone), 5.97 lakh “suspected bogus family cards” were identified during a door-to-door verification between October 2009 and August 2010 and stop supply was issued subsequently.

However, PDS supply to these families was restored by January 2011, citing “deficiencies” in the verification process like “non-coverage of all flats in multi-storied complexes.”

The erstwhile government had also ordered a “re-verification” by the Commissioner of Civil Supplies by June 2011, but the exercise was interrupted by the election to the state Assembly, the CAG report said.

Further, though family card holders with over two LPG connections at home are not entitled to PDS kerosene, CAG found out that over 50 per cent of the ration cards in circulation in the state did not have the “stamping” to indicate number of LPG connections.

“Supply of kerosene under PDS to family card holders having two LPG cylinders could not be ruled out,” the report said.

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