The Delhi Government’s Department of Food and Supplies has resumed the process of issuing food security cards to beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act, 2013.

The process of issuing smart cards to beneficiaries of the scheme, which was implemented from September 1, was stopped after the model code of conduct came into force for the Assembly elections.

The department issued a public notice on Thursday asking ration card-holders to apply for new cards by January 10.

“Ration card-holders who are presently getting ration and who have still not applied for the new ration card under the National Food Security Act, 2013 have been requested to apply for it by January 10. The scrutiny of all such applications would be done in order to weed out fake ration card-holders. Smart cards would be issued to them gradually,” said the department’s Secretary-cum-Commissioner, S.S. Yadav.

A total of over 5 lakh families (around 32 lakh people) in the Capital currently hold ration cards under different schemes like Below Poverty Line, Antyodaya Anna Yojna as well as ration card holders living in slumand resettlement colonies.

All families holding ration cards are entitled for subsidised food grains at the rate of 5 kg per member per month. While around 72 lakh people would ultimately be covered under the scheme in Delhi, the authorities have started the process of issuing new ration cards to the existing beneficiaries.

Officials said the renewal of the cards would also help in weeding out fake ration card-holders.

“We have already received applications from around 16 lakh households. Data entry of the received forms has been completed and electronic scrutiny of the applications has also begun. The applications are being collated with the data collected from other departments like transport, income tax, property details from MCD and power usage pattern from discoms. The next step would be field verification of the applicants, which is likely to begin from Monday,” said Mr. Yadav.

Officials said the department is likely to start distributing the first set of smart cards by December-end.

“We had issued tenders for manufacturing the smart cards. We have already received bids for it. We will finalise the vendor within a week,” said Mr. Yadav. Officials said all beneficiaries would be identified and covered under the scheme within the stipulated deadline of July 5, 2014.

More In: Delhi