No card if monthly power bill exceeds Rs. 450

In a bid to prevent well-off families from getting the BPL ration cards, the Department of Food and Civil Supplies has prescribed a 15-point eligibility criteria for issuing the cards meant for poor families.

As per the new eligibility criteria, which was announced by Minister for Food and Civil Supplies D.N. Jeevaraj here on Thursday, the families which have any of the members paying Income Tax are not eligible for getting BPL cards. Not only this, if you have any vehicle with a capacity of more than 100 cc, you are ineligible to get BPL cards. However, auto drivers and owners have been exempted from this rule.

Similarly, government employees, staff of State-held public sector enterprises, boards and corporations, autonomous institutions, permanent workers of co-operative bodies, professionals, including lawyers, hospital workers and employees of MNCs and big industries besides legislators have also been declared ineligible for getting these cards.

Those who are getting rental incomes from buildings and those families whose average monthly electricity bills exceed Rs. 450 are also barred from getting these cards.

Other categories

The other categories who have been barred from getting the BPL cards include all traders (barring those selling vegetables and push-cart/roadside vendors and those operating petty shops) and those having more than seven and half acres of dry land or an equivalent extent of wetland.

Similarly, the employees of aided/unaided schools (barring those of unaided Kannada schools), registered contractors, APMC traders/commission agents and dealers of seeds and fertilisers are also ineligible to get the BPL ration cards.

The Minister said a notification would be issued on Friday on these eligibility norms. The Food Department would appeal to the BPL cardholders, who fall under the above ineligible category, to voluntarily switch over to Above Poverty Line ration cards’ category. “If they fail to do it, the Department itself would shift them to the APL category,” he said.

The Food Department would publish a list of all the BPL cardholders along with their photographs in front of the respective fair price depots. This would help others to identify if any ineligible persons had got into the list, he said.

He said the need for framing new eligibility criteria had arisen as the Food Department thought that the existing guideline of going by the income limit alone — maximum of Rs. 17,000 in urban areas and Rs. 12,000 in rural areas — was not practical considering the fact that the poor jobless workers get Rs. 155 a day for a minimum of 100 days a year under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act.

“If both the husband and wife work under this scheme, their incomes are bound to exceed the poverty line limit fixed by the State government. But we cannot deny them cards as they are poor. Hence we decided to go by the new eligibility guidelines,” the minister explained.

Meanwhile, pointing out that 40 per cent of the BPL cardholders were yet to submit fingerprint impressions and photos, he said a deadline would be prescribed by Friday for completing these formalities.

He said an inquiry would be ordered into the episode of adulterated rice being supplied through public distribution system in Shimoga district.

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