HYDERABAD:When income eligibility for below poverty line (BPL) families under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) for availing Food Security Cards (FSC) was raised from Rs 75,000 to Rs 2 lakh per annum, the number of the FSC cards in the city jumped by just 25 per cent.
In other words, if 20,26,357 individual beneficiaries availed of ration benefits under the public distribution system in July, 2014, the number increased by only six lakh in the State capital region after the income criteria for BPL was relaxed.
Currently, as per records of the civil supplies department, there are 8.09 lakh families in Hyderabad availing of PDS - the number of families holding ration cards in July 2014 in the city was 6.88 lakh. However, it was brought down to 6.29 lakh in December last year after Aadhaar seeding. Nonetheless, the number again increased to 8.09 lakh following the new norm for BPL families.
During implementation of NFSA, the department received applications from 9.42 lakh families for the benefit but it rejected 1.25 lakh applications. In other words, a total of 36.81 lakh people in Hyderabad applied for benefits under NFSA but the department found only 26.85 lakh individuals eligible.
The FSCs as such are yet to be distributed. Officials point out that temporary FSCs are being issued for the beneficiaries since March this year and families too are availing of the benefits. As per information with the Chief Rationing Officer, Hyderabad, 1,73,03,799 kg of subsidised rice is consumed by BPL families in Hyderabad jurisdiction every month.
“Food Security Cards are yet to be issued but temporary cards are in use since March. The final addition and deletion is going on and a decision for printing and circulation of cards has to be taken by the government,” explained Bharathi Hollikeri, chief rationing officer, Hyderabad.
According to her, the National Informatics Centre (NIC) generates a ‘key register’ every month regarding the card position after deletion and updation, based on which allotments to families are being made. The CRO explained that Telangana has been a frontrunner in the implementation of NFSA. “Instead of NFSA directed 5 kg rice at Rs 3 per kg, Telangana government is providing 6 kg rice per person at Rs 1 a kg,” she said.
To plug loopholes in public distribution system, now the government is mulling rationalisation of Fair Price Shops. “We want to keep only 1000 to 1200 cards with each fair price shop so that there will be uniformity in distribution.
Process is on to make FPS economically viable for dealers too. From Rs 25 per quintal as commission, the dealers will be paid Rs 70 per quintal as per NFSA norms in the coming months,” she stated.
■ There are 8.09 lakh families in Hyderabad availing of PDS
■ The number wasbrought down to 6.29 lakh last year after Aadhaar seeding
■ Following new norms, the number again rose to 8.09 lakh families