The Union government has found 70 lakh beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act to be ‘suspicious’ and has shared their data with states for ‘ground truthing’, the Secretary of State said on Friday. Sudhanshu Pandey diet.
During a press conference, Pandey also said that 4.74 crores of ration cards had been removed or canceled by states between 2013 and 2021.
“Very recently a similar exercise was carried out and around 70 lakh beneficiaries were suspected and now the data has again been forwarded to the respective states to do the ground verification,” Pandey said.
Pandey said: “If out of those 70 [lakh] even 50 or 60% actually turn out to be inauthentic, this space could also be created. So it’s a continuous exercise.
Responding to a question, Pandey said that 4.74 crore ration cards, which would translate to about 19 crore beneficiaries, have been “removed” and new beneficiaries added in their place.
“Creating space is an ongoing process. Today a person may be entitled to it, tomorrow due to his economic well-being he may not be entitled to it. His economic status improves, he may not be entitled to it. It can be deleted; another person will come,” Pandey said.
According to data shared by the Ministry of Food, of the 4.74 crore ration cards removed or canceled by states and union territories over the past nine years, 4.28 crore were removed/ canceled between 2014 and 2021.
Data shows that 84.26 lakh of ration cards were removed/cancelled in 2016. This is the highest number in the last nine years for which figures are available.
The data also shows that 46 lakh ration cards were removed/cancelled in the two Covid years (2020 and 2021).
An analysis of the data by state shows that of the 4.74 crore ration cards removed/cancelled, the highest of 1.73 crore was in Uttar Pradesh. UP was followed by West Bengal (68.62 lakh ration cards scrapped/cancelled), Maharashtra (42.66 lakh), Karnataka (30.09 lakh) and Rajasthan (22.66 lakh).
Under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) of 2013, 81.35 million people can be covered across the country. According to Ministry of Food data, the current NFSA coverage stands at 79.74 crore.
About 1.58 crore people can still be covered by NFSA, Pandey said.
Pandey also launched the common registration system for ration cards. Using this facility, a person can apply for a ration card from anywhere in the country.
The web-based facility will initially be tested in 11 states and union territories – Assam, Goa, Lakshadweep, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Punjab, Tripura and Uttrakhand.
Under the current system, a person can apply for a ration card offline or through the home state’s web portal. The new platform, however, will provide the app service for people from all states at one place.
“This portal is just a tool for states/UTs to complete their exercise of inclusion under the NFSA,” Pandey said, adding that the portal will help streamline data management while providing a platform. -trains to States/UTs to assist with inclusion of beneficiaries.