Even as the state government is planning to link ration cards with Aadhaar cards to plug leakages in the public distribution system, its food and civil supplies department says it does not have any fresh data on “ineligible” ration cards since the last drive to detect such cards was carried out in 2011, according to reply to an RTI query filed by The Indian Express.
The data provided by the department states there are 11.86 lakh “ineligible” ration cards in the state. In Pune district alone, there are 2.81 lakh such cards. Of these, 45,653 are in the rural areas and 2,36,172 in the city.
The figure of 2.81 lakh ineligible ration cards in Pune district is the highest in the state, followed by Raigad (1.3 lakh) and Nagpur (77,022). The total number of ration cards in the state a little more than 2 crore.
“We are yet to conduct drive and collate data on ineligible cards for all districts in the state. We do not have an updated data since 2011. We are slowly carrying out the process,” an official from the department said.
According to the RTI (Right to Information) reply given by the department, of the 11.86 lakh ineligible ration cards in the state, 1.72 lakh are the yellow ration cards, which are meant for families Below Poverty Line (BPL) and Antyodaya scheme. One lakh of them are saffron ration cards, 9,774 under the Annapoorna category and 2,715 cards are white ration cards.
Recently, when Food and Civil Supplies Minister Girish Bapat was asked about such data, he too had said that the department was yet to prepare the same.
In 2013, the then minister Food and Civil Supplies Minister Anil Deshmukh had stated in the Legislative Assembly that there were 54,06,881 “ineligible” ration cards in the state and promised bar-coded ration cards to weed out bogus cards. However, after two years, there is no trace of such biometric ration cards.
The Maharashtra government plans to link ration cards with Aadhaar data with an aim to weed out bogus beneficiaries and curb pilferage in the public distribution system.
Officials say that as an incentive, the food and civil supplies department has offered fair price shop owners Rs 100 per enrolment of a ration card holder for Aadhar card.