THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The State Government is toying with the proposal of giving APL ration cardholders the choice of not applying for the new ‘general’ category cards in a bid to ensure adequate supply to the ‘priority’ sector in the state.
‘General’ category cards are set to replace APL cards when new ration cards will be issued as part of enforcing the National Food Security Act (NFSA) in the state from October 2.
Once NFSA is in place, BPL/AAY cards will be replaced by ‘priority’ sector cards.
“The proposal is under consideration. There could be people who don’t need to draw rations. Their quota can be given to the ‘priority’ category (present BPL/AAY),” Civil Supplies director A T James said. In reality, the NFSA has no provision for a ‘general’ sector.
But the State Government had insisted on this category as Kerala has a universal rationing system with near 100 per cent coverage.
“Those who opt out of applying for the ‘general’ cards will always have the option to opt in,” James said.
“We are thinking of introducing an SMS facility for this. They can apply for cards at any point of time,” he said. The government is gearing up to enforce NFSA in the state from October 2. Once it is in place, the APL and BPL cards will be replaced with ‘priority’ households and ‘general’ category households.
The ‘priority’ households will consist of former BPL/AAY card holders as well as BPL families who were in the list prepared by the State Government in 2009 but who were not issued the cards.
According to the Civil Supplies Department, of the total 3.33 crore population in Kerala, 1.54 crore will be ‘priority’ card holders while 1.79 crore will possess general cards.
Households in the ‘priority’ sector will be entitled to foodgrain at `3 per kg of rice and wheat at `2 per kg. Under NFSA, Kerala is entitled to 14.25 lakh tonnes of foodgrain per annum.