Food security: To get or not to get

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By TEXT BY BIBHUTI BARIK, PICTURES BY ASHWINEE PATI
  • Published 9.10.14
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People crowd at a digitisation centre for ration cards at Unit-II Girls’ High School in Bhubaneswar. Pictures by Ashwine Pati

Confusion prevailed at several community centres over the process digitisation for issuance of new ration cards under the National Food Security Act, 2013, as the exercise began today. According to the act, a BPL person will get 5kg of food grain (rice or wheat) a month. However, people as well as officials in the city do not have a clear idea about the future of other essential items being supplied through the public distribution system.
The Telegraph team did a reality check at several community centres in the city. Here are some frequently asked questions about this process

What are the important dates?

Forms were distributed and registration was done between September 22 and 30. The digitisation process for ration cards started today in the city at 193 centres in 67 wards. It will continue till October 22.

What next for those who missed the date?

For those, who missed the date for filing the application, forms will be available again from November 1 at office of the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation.

What next after digitisation?

Once the digitisation is over, the data will be compared with the state government payroll, income tax, census, transport and electricity departments, and a final list will be uploaded on the food supply and consumer welfare department’s website inviting suggestions. In case of suspicion, physical verification of the data will be carried out, and finally, list will be released on the government website.

When will the new cards be issued?

New ration cards will be distributed after three months. However, in case of calamity or disaster, it might get delayed.

What will happen to the old ration cards?

The old cards will lose their identity once the state government issues the new ones.

Who are not entitled to get the new ration card?

Government servants and pensioners with Rs 15,000 or more monthly income or pension, owner of four-wheeler vehicles or those owning more than two three-wheelers, income tax assesses, people with more than 2KW electricity supply line to their houses or with a consumption of more than 300 units per month.

Who will be automatically included?

Landless families, primitive tribal groups, widow pensioners, physically challenged persons with more than 40 per cent disability and families depending on donations.

How many applications were registered under the corporation?

There are 68,647 BPL families and 78,846 houses registered under the holding tax regime, while 2,08,871 people were registered for the ration cards as on September 30.

When will the process of digitisation for issuance of ration cards in Cuttack begin?

The digitisation process for ration cards is likely to start within the Cuttack Municipal Corporation limits by November. Dates are yet to be notified. At present, there are 16,846 BPL families, 5,965 under the Antodaya and 1,38,063 APL families under the corporation limits. According to the proposal, the community centres for undertaking the digitisation job will be identified on the basis of their population, which has to be 5,000 or more than that.

" We have categorically said that only people who satisfy the eligibility criteria should apply for ration cards. However, many have applied without checking the facts. During verification they will be eliminated automatically "

Md. Q. Haque
deputy secretary of food supplies and consumer welfare department

" I went to Eureka Club today for the digitisation of my application, but the operator told me that I cannot apply in my individual capacity and have to do it on behalf of my family. The authorities should have made it clear right in the beginning "

Sumanta Kumar Das
Nayapalli resident