37.6 mn bogus ration cardholders in the country: Minister

April 21st, 2008 - 10:55 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 21 (IANS) There are 37.6 million bogus ration cardholders in the country, union minister of consumer affairs, food and public distribution Sharad Pawar told the Lok Sabha Monday. “Though there are 65.2 million families below the poverty line (BPL) according to the Planning Commission which prepares the list, the number of ration cardholders is 102.8 million. So there are 37.6 million bogus ration cardholders in the country,” Pawar said.

Pawar was responding to questions in the Lower House during Zero Hour.

The ration cardholders can avail of cheap food grains and essential commodities from Public Distribution System outlets.

Pawar said the state governments are responsible for conducting the survey to determine those eligible for ration cards. The Planning Commission is the authority that maintains the overall records.

On whether the bogus cardholders included illegal immigrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh, the minister did not give a direct reply but said the state governments were looking into the matter. The Home Ministry has received several complaints in the past of terror activists securing ration cards to prove they were bona fide citizens of India.

Even as the government is dealing with bogus cardholders, Pilibhit MP Maneka Gandhi complained that many families in her constituency and elsewhere entitled to ration cards were not provided these due to government apathy and corruption.

It was also suggested in the House that the criteria for deciding eligibility for a ration card be revised as even the poor now had mobile phones, TV sets, cycles and the like.

Pawar said states had been told to look into the various discrepancies in issuing of ration cards and 12-13 states have already taken some action.

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