Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Apr 10:
Conforming to the criteria for the selection of beneficiaries for allotment of new ration cards as per the National Food Security Act, 2013, the Odisha government has struck out as many as 1419 applicants from the list in Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Bhubaneswar block areas.
In the first stage of scrutiny, 1419 applicants have been excluded and more applications are likely to be rejected based on the exclusion criteria, Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare department sources said.
An inter-departmental review by the food supplies and consumer welfare department decided to weed out applicants not satisfying the norms under the Act.
The department stressed on mainly four criteria viz: household having four-wheeler, domestic electric connection with a load of 2 KW or more/consuming an average of 300 units of energy (KWH) per month, household having a member with monthly income or pension of more than Rs 15, 000 per month.
Notably, the government has fixed eight exclusion and six inclusion criteria for the applicants under NFSA to avail the benefits of public distribution system.
Despite government’s awareness drives and advertisements, it was noticed that several government employees and other applicants not eligible to be included under the scheme had applied for the ration cards.
The government had warned that if any undeserving beneficiary avails the subsidised food grains then the recipient would be penalised under Orissa Public Demands Recovery Act (OPDR), 1962 and legal action would be initiated against them.
Meanwhile, a large number of people not eligible under the NFSA were seen queuing up at the BMC office here to submit fresh applications seeking voluntary exclusion from the beneficiary list, fearing imposition of penalty or legal action against them. They are being asked to give an undertaking in writing that they had applied for the ration cards without knowing the eligibility criteria, an official of the department said.
The NFSA was implemented in the state in a phased manner. In the first phase, it was implemented in BMC and Bhubaneswar block on a pilot basis to identify priority households. 1, 95, 673 applicants had applied for ration cards.
The digitization of enrolment of beneficiaries for new ration cards in the remaining 29 districts ended this Wednesday.
In the first phase, 28, 07, 349 families have submitted applications for digitized ration cards in the district level of which digitisation of 26, 55, 522 families have been completed. The ration cards will be distributed to the beneficiaries, who would be identified by using the National Population Register (NPR) as well as the data provided in the application form.
The department has decided to roll out the new PDS cards in these areas by August last this year.
Though the process is over at the panchayat level, the left out applicants would be given an opportunity to apply at block offices from May 25 to July 25.
Based on the population figures in the 20111 Census, the number of beneficiaries to be included for subsidised food grains under TPDS is estimated at about 3.21 crore in Odisha.
It may be mentioned that NFSA seeks to address the issue of food security in a life cycle approach and aims at supply of entitled quantities of food grains and meals specified under the scheme.
The scheme envisages uniform entitlement of 5 kg of grains per person per month for priority households while households under Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) will continue to get 35 kg of rice per household per month as before.
The Act provides that the eldest woman of the household will be the head of the household for issue of ration cards provided she is 18 years or above.