The Gujarat government has deployed a workforce of 17,000 people for a door-to-door
survey as over 26 lakh ration cards, of beneficiaries of its relief scheme during the coronavirus lockdown, were found to be “unverified”.
The government had announced a direct bank transfer (DBT) of Rs 1,000 under its “Mukhyamantri Garib Kalyan Package” to over 68 lakh card holders, which comprises 3.36 crore beneficiaries, who fall under Below Poverty Line (BPL) category or have cards under National Food Security Act (NFSA).
The scheme, which costs Rs 680 crore to the state exchequer, was announced on April 18 and the beneficiaries were to get Rs 1000 from April 20 onwards.
However, the government has found that over 38 per cent of these cards are “unverified”, as they do not have verified bank accounts or their Aadhaar numbers are not linked with their accounts or they are not availing the LPG subsidy through Aadhaar numbers linked with their ration cards.
Following this, the state government’s food, civil supplies and consumer affairs department on April 21 launched a campaign to physically verify these 26 lakh “unverified” NFSA and non-NFSA card holders through a door-to-door survey.
“Though all these card holders have bank accounts, some are not linked with the Aadhaar numbers. This is because we have never used the data we have to transfer money directly to their bank accounts. To verify these, a survey in all districts is being conducted,” said Minister of State for Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Dharmedrasinh Jadeja.
The workforce of 17,000 people comprises mostly government school teachers.
As per the data accessed, in Ahmedabad city alone, over 1.7 lakh cards are those for which Aadhaar number is not verified at the fair price shops or the Aadhaar number is not linked with the bank accounts.
“For this, over 1000 government school teachers along with a few other government employees have been roped in from Thursday. They will go out in the field and verify details including bank account number, Aadhaar card details of the head of the family, bank name and address, IFSC code etc.
In case the head of the family does not have a bank account, account details of any other family member is to be taken,” said a senior state government official.
However, claiming that the transfer of Rs 1,000 has already started, minister Dharmendrasinh Jadeja said that the verification process, though a time consuming one, will certainly help the state government in the future in case of any emergency.
Further, the chances that the process will detect fake cards is also not ruled out.
Besides Ahmedabad, other districts with large number of “unverified” beneficiaries include Bhavnagar with over 1.46 lakh card holders, Banaskantha with 1.42 lakh, Kutch with 1.32 lakh, Surat with 1.35 lakh, Rajkot with 1.12 lakh and Kheda 1.08 with lakh card holders.
In its directive issued to all the district administrations on April 20, the state government has said that verification of NFSA card holders under the respective fair price shops to be on top priority and completed within three to five days.
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