Government withdrew the ‘introducer’ clause in July

Internet cafes across the State entrusted with the task of uploading application forms for ration cards continue to insist on an existing cardholder to endorse the applicant, although the government withdrew the ‘introducer’ clause over four months ago.

It is all because new software is yet to be introduced. Efforts are on to introduce new software shortly, according to Harsh Gupta, Commissioner, Department of Food and Civil Supplies.

How it works

Once that is done, the Electoral Photo Identity Card (EPIC) of the applicant or that of a member of his/her family will replace the requirement for an introducer. Mr. Gupta said the new software would ensure that the EPIC was genuine. It had been designed in a way that the name, address and other details on the voter’s ID card are verified online with the database in the Election Commission of India’s website. “The application will be accepted only if the details match,” he said.

Complaints

Though the decision to do away with the introducer for an above the poverty line (APL) ration card application was taken in July this year following a torrent of complaints, the department was unable to immediately replace the system with a fool-proof mechanism to prevent bogus applications.

A resident of Bangalore, Shenoy, who went to an Internet cafe to submit an application for an APL card recently, had to return disappointed as he was told to bring an introducer. Even though a government circular was issued in this regard, people were told at Internet cafes that applications could not be processed in the existing software without an introducer.

‘No information’

Parvez, who uploads ration card applications at his Internet café in Mysore, said they had no information that an introducer was not necessary.

“Applications cannot be submitted without an introducer in the existing software,” he said.

Under the existing system, an applicant first sends an SMS to 9212357123 and in reply receives a token number and a security code. Then, an online application form should be filled up by the applicant.

There were also complaints that people manning cyber cafes were demanding additional money in the range of Rs. 300 to Rs. 500 to arrange for an introducer.

New cards

Mr. Gupta said the department had added 36 lakh ration cards, including about 4 lakh APL cards, in the four months since the Anna Bhagya scheme was introduced. During the same period, about 5.5 lakh ration cards that were bogus or ineligible or unused were weeded out.

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