Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Aug 12:
Families owning three-roomed pucca houses in Odisha will not be eligible for a ration card. The Odisha government’s move is part of its efforts to exclude undeserving beneficiaries from the public distribution system under the National Food Security Act (NFSA).
Data from Socio Economic and Caste Census -2011 (SECC) will form the basis for the purpose. About eight lakh families in the state have stated to possess three-roomed pucca houses. In a directive issued on Monday, the Food Supplies & Consumer Welfare (FS&CW) department has asked collectors to obtain the list from the website and conduct a spot verification. The department has asked collectors to finish the scrutiny process of suspect beneficiaries latest by August 20.
FS & CW secretary Madhusudhan Padhi, in his letter to collectors, has assigned targets for each district. The letter has asked collectors not to cross the targeted number of beneficiaries under any circumstances.
The FS & CW department has obtained energy (electricity) consumption data of each family from the Energy department. A rule has been framed to exclude families consuming more than 300 units of electricity a month from the list of beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), revealed sources. Similarly, data has been obtained from the Transport department to verify vehicle ownership. District collectors, however, will be required to verify these and take a final decision in this regard at the district level.
In the meantime, the secretary Union Ministry for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has written a strongly worded letter to the secretary FS & CW department to complete all processes by September 30 and implement NFSA from October. The letter minces no words reminding the latter that the NFSA has been in force since July 5, 2013. The Act had provided for one year for identification of beneficiaries. Since it could not be completed within one year, an extension till September 30, 2015 was given. The letter said it’s not possible to further extend the time period and the Central government has called for a meeting of secretaries of the Food Supplies department of different states on September 1 to take stock of the situation. State FS & CW secretary Madhusudhan Padhi has been asked to make a detailed statement on Odisha’s preparations there.
For weeding out ineligible beneficiaries, another brainstorming session will be undertaken at the state secretariat here tomorrow. Departmental Minister Sanjay Das Burma, chief secretary, development commissioner, principal secretary to Chief Minister and nodal officers from all districts will be attending the meeting. The meeting will discuss the preparation of an error-free list.
“Process is on to produce a final list within the scheduled date after eliminating ineligible people. In some cases, the names of individual beneficiaries have been listed multiple times. In some cases, there are data entry errors. Efforts are on to rectify those. However, ‘ration card management system’ will remain operational in every block for a year from the date of NFSA implementation. Exclusion of the ineligible and inclusion of the eligible will be a continuous process. Therefore, there is no scope of eligible beneficiaries being excluded,” said Minister FS & CW Sanjay Das Burma.
It may be mentioned here that as per guidelines of the Central government 3,26,40,395 beneficiaries are eligible to be included under NFSA in the Odisha. While 56% of the population can become beneficiaries under the scheme in urban areas, 82% of the population can become beneficiaries in rural areas. But 1,04,25,000 families have registered for being listed as beneficiaries under NFSA in the state. The total head count of these families is around 3.95 crore which is 69 lakh more than the number fixed by the Central government target.