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“Ineligible” people told to return ration cards in UP

Ration cards are the new methods of inclusion and exclusion into food security, as the UP government issues “guidelines” to declare people“ineligible”

Sabrangindia 20 May 2022

ration cards
Image Courtesy:newsnationtv.com

Increasing media reports, first in the Hindustan Times and then The Pioneer have reported that the Uttar Pradesh government is in a post-election spree of seizing “ineligible” ration cards. This is ironic given that political analysts have attributed the free ration scheme announced by the ruling regime in Lucknow to take the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to its second win the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh under Adityanath.

Immediately after results were announced on March 10, second time chief minister Ajay Bisht aka Yogi Adityanath had even announced that that his government would continue to give free ration to 15,00,000 eligible, poor people across the state for the next three months. But who is poor and who is eligible is the moot question given the April 2022 Government Order asking “ineligible” individuals to “surrender” their ration cards or, surprise or surprises, they will face punitive action, an FIR against them. The deadline for surrendering these is today, March 20. Individuals can surrender their ration cards at their block offices or the office of the district supply officer, the official said.

UP’s guidelines, reportedly under National Food Security Act 2013, are specific and particular: The government guidelines specify that the residents are ineligible to hold a ration card if one of the members of the family pays income tax, more than one member holds an arms licence, or if a member has an annual income of more than Rs 3 lakh in urban areas and Rs 2 lakh in rural areas, or he /she owns a house, flat or a commercial space of more than 100 square feet area. Families who own a four-wheeler/tractor/harvester/ air-conditioner or generator set at home are considered ineligible to hold ration cards as well, the guideline says.

A senior official reportedly told the media that the district administration would send recovery notices to those ineligible people who do not submit their ration cards by May 20 and may even lodge FIRs against them under provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure. He said the recovery would be made as per the guidelines. All district magistrates have issued orders accordingly. According to officials, the “recovery process” includes imposing penalties at a rate of Rs24 for a kilogram of wheat and Rs32 for a kilogram of rice from the time ineligible households started availing ration.

HT reports that 1520 ration cards were “surrendered” in Lucknow by March 17 fearing legal action. A senior official has told the media that the district administration would send recovery notices to those ineligible people who did not surrender their ration cards by May 20 and may initiate legal action against them under provisions of NFS Act 2013.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, ration card holders were given free ration twice a month — once from the Centre and the other time from the Uttar Pradesh government. There were complaints that many non-eligible persons were getting ration but the government preferred to look the other way because of the assembly elections. There were also serious allegations of bias and prejudice with the rations not reaching minority dominated and Dalit dominated areas.

There are two types of ration cards — Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) cards and Priority Household cards. Families with an annual income of less than Rs 3 lakh per annum in urban areas and Rs 2 lakh in rural areas are eligible for priority household cards. People who have no house, fixed income or working skills — essentially, the poorest strata of the society — are eligible for AAY cards.

As per the district supply office record, as reported by HT, presently there are 7,86,218 ration cards in the state capital, covering around 31,18,110 units (people). Of the total ration card-holders, there are around 50,112 Antyodaya card-holders (covering around 1,51,317 people) and 736106 Priority House Hold (PHH) card-holders (covering around 6,34,901 people).

According to the present grain distribution system, Singh said of the two, the Antyodaya card-holders used to get 35kg food grains, including 20kg wheat at ₹2 per kg and 15kg rice at ₹3 per kg. The PHH or regular ration card-holders used to get 5kg food grains, including 3kg wheat at ₹2 per kg and 2kg rice at ₹3 per kg, per unit. In addition, under the Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Yojna (PMGKY), the UP government had announced 5kg food grains (per unit) and it was also giving one kg gram (chana), one litre oil and one kg salt packet to the ration card-holders.

India’s declining food security

India’s declining ranking (India has ranked 71 among 113 countries in the Global Food Security Index with a score of 57.2) leaves these recent moves open to question. If state governments or the Centre restrict distribution through the public distribution system (PDS) the policy will not just privatise trade in basic food but also affect overall food security of the country. The GFS Index is released by Economist Impact and Corteva Agriscience. The Index is measured on four metrics, Affordability, Availability, Quality &Safety, and Natural resources&Resilience.

Compared to few of its neighbouring countries, India has a better overall score. Pakistan is ranked at 75th position, Sri Lanka at 77th, Nepal at 79th and Bangladesh at 84th position. However larger countries like China (34) and Russia (23) hold a much better position than India.

Related:

Purvanchal: Silence of the Looms
Urgent need to revive and sustain Banarasi weaving industry
India ranks 71 in Global Food Security Index

“Ineligible” people told to return ration cards in UP

Ration cards are the new methods of inclusion and exclusion into food security, as the UP government issues “guidelines” to declare people“ineligible”

ration cards
Image Courtesy:newsnationtv.com

Increasing media reports, first in the Hindustan Times and then The Pioneer have reported that the Uttar Pradesh government is in a post-election spree of seizing “ineligible” ration cards. This is ironic given that political analysts have attributed the free ration scheme announced by the ruling regime in Lucknow to take the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to its second win the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh under Adityanath.

Immediately after results were announced on March 10, second time chief minister Ajay Bisht aka Yogi Adityanath had even announced that that his government would continue to give free ration to 15,00,000 eligible, poor people across the state for the next three months. But who is poor and who is eligible is the moot question given the April 2022 Government Order asking “ineligible” individuals to “surrender” their ration cards or, surprise or surprises, they will face punitive action, an FIR against them. The deadline for surrendering these is today, March 20. Individuals can surrender their ration cards at their block offices or the office of the district supply officer, the official said.

UP’s guidelines, reportedly under National Food Security Act 2013, are specific and particular: The government guidelines specify that the residents are ineligible to hold a ration card if one of the members of the family pays income tax, more than one member holds an arms licence, or if a member has an annual income of more than Rs 3 lakh in urban areas and Rs 2 lakh in rural areas, or he /she owns a house, flat or a commercial space of more than 100 square feet area. Families who own a four-wheeler/tractor/harvester/ air-conditioner or generator set at home are considered ineligible to hold ration cards as well, the guideline says.

A senior official reportedly told the media that the district administration would send recovery notices to those ineligible people who do not submit their ration cards by May 20 and may even lodge FIRs against them under provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure. He said the recovery would be made as per the guidelines. All district magistrates have issued orders accordingly. According to officials, the “recovery process” includes imposing penalties at a rate of Rs24 for a kilogram of wheat and Rs32 for a kilogram of rice from the time ineligible households started availing ration.

HT reports that 1520 ration cards were “surrendered” in Lucknow by March 17 fearing legal action. A senior official has told the media that the district administration would send recovery notices to those ineligible people who did not surrender their ration cards by May 20 and may initiate legal action against them under provisions of NFS Act 2013.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, ration card holders were given free ration twice a month — once from the Centre and the other time from the Uttar Pradesh government. There were complaints that many non-eligible persons were getting ration but the government preferred to look the other way because of the assembly elections. There were also serious allegations of bias and prejudice with the rations not reaching minority dominated and Dalit dominated areas.

There are two types of ration cards — Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) cards and Priority Household cards. Families with an annual income of less than Rs 3 lakh per annum in urban areas and Rs 2 lakh in rural areas are eligible for priority household cards. People who have no house, fixed income or working skills — essentially, the poorest strata of the society — are eligible for AAY cards.

As per the district supply office record, as reported by HT, presently there are 7,86,218 ration cards in the state capital, covering around 31,18,110 units (people). Of the total ration card-holders, there are around 50,112 Antyodaya card-holders (covering around 1,51,317 people) and 736106 Priority House Hold (PHH) card-holders (covering around 6,34,901 people).

According to the present grain distribution system, Singh said of the two, the Antyodaya card-holders used to get 35kg food grains, including 20kg wheat at ₹2 per kg and 15kg rice at ₹3 per kg. The PHH or regular ration card-holders used to get 5kg food grains, including 3kg wheat at ₹2 per kg and 2kg rice at ₹3 per kg, per unit. In addition, under the Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Yojna (PMGKY), the UP government had announced 5kg food grains (per unit) and it was also giving one kg gram (chana), one litre oil and one kg salt packet to the ration card-holders.

India’s declining food security

India’s declining ranking (India has ranked 71 among 113 countries in the Global Food Security Index with a score of 57.2) leaves these recent moves open to question. If state governments or the Centre restrict distribution through the public distribution system (PDS) the policy will not just privatise trade in basic food but also affect overall food security of the country. The GFS Index is released by Economist Impact and Corteva Agriscience. The Index is measured on four metrics, Affordability, Availability, Quality &Safety, and Natural resources&Resilience.

Compared to few of its neighbouring countries, India has a better overall score. Pakistan is ranked at 75th position, Sri Lanka at 77th, Nepal at 79th and Bangladesh at 84th position. However larger countries like China (34) and Russia (23) hold a much better position than India.

Related:

Purvanchal: Silence of the Looms
Urgent need to revive and sustain Banarasi weaving industry
India ranks 71 in Global Food Security Index

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