HYDERABAD: It appears that there is no ration on sanctioning food security cards in the State. Despite Telangana standing in sixth place in the Sustainable Development Goals India Index 2020-21 and performing well in several key sectors, nearly 80 per cent of the State’s people are currently availing white ration card benefits. This indicates that 80 per cent of the population in the rich State of Telangana is poor. The State Cabinet on Tuesday decided to sanction 4,46,169 new ration cards in the next 15 days.
So far, 53,55,797 cards have been issued under National Food Security, benefitting 1,91,69,619 people in the State. The State also issued 33,85,779 additional cards benefitting another 87,54,681 people. Currently, 2,79,24,300 people are eligible to get subsidised rice at Rs 1 per kg in the State, which has a population of around 3.5 crore.
The government has been giving a subsidy ofRs 28.24 per kg of rice. The total subsidy on PDS rice is Rs 2,088 crore per year. However, sources in the Civil Supplies Department said there could be discrepancies in the system. They said when the newly married members of a family start living separately, they apply for new cards but their names are not deleted from the old ones.
An official said not all people were taking the rice. “There was an uproar when the government stopped supply of PDS rice to those who did not take for three consecutive months. As a result, and also considering the pandemic situation, the government removed that clause,” he said.
The eligibility for a person to get a white ration card is that his or her family’s annual income should be below Rs 2 lakh per year in urban areas and below Rs 1.5 lakh in rural areas. “But most people are inclined to take white ration cards to get health and other benefits, and not just for rice,” a source said, adding that the food security cards in the State are actually being used as health security cards.