Govt. to issue green ration cards

An agonising wait: There has been a growing demand for free rice from the poor.   | Photo Credit: M_SAMRAJ

The Civil Supplies Department is all set to issue green ration cards to eliminate higher income groups from the list of beneficiaries for free rice scheme.

The department is awaiting a notification to kick-start the process to weed out Group A and B employees, income tax payers and certain category of traders who are in the GST regime.

“We have put up the file and are awaiting a notification to be issued,” a source in the department told The Hindu.

Data being collected

The department has been collecting data from the Income Tax and Commercial Tax departments. Statistics related to a number of Group A and B employees are available with the government, a source in the government said.

Preliminary assessment revealed that there would be around 70,000 income tax payers who are in possession of yellow ration cards and who are entitled to get free rice as per the existing policy.

According to the new plan, the government will allow cardholders to voluntarily opt out of the free rice scheme.

Simultaneously, the department will weed out higher income groups from the purview of getting free rice.

Of the 3.35 lakh ration cardholders, 1.86 lakh are red ration cardholders. The government on an average per month incurred an expenditure for around ₹ 20 crore for free rice. The clamour for restricting freebies to poor families had been growing with even the ruling Congress, the AIADMK and the BJP openly expressing their support to the move.

Except for the All India N.R. Congress, the principal Opposition party, there had been a near political unanimity on the need to restrict freebies to the poor families alone.

Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi had expressed her reservations about distribution of free rice to all irrespective of their financial background.

She had highlighted the need to limit freebies to poor so as to bring financial prudence.

Sources in the government said the expenditure towards procuring rice under the scheme would come down by half once the new policy on free rice gets administrative approval.

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Printable version | Jun 10, 2021 11:29:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/govt-to-issue-green-ration-cards/article19512019.ece

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