You could soon be asked to surrender your ration card. The state government plans to discontinue the white ration cards, which are issued to families considered financially well-off. The white ration cards are currently issued to familieswith an annual income of Rs 1 lakh and above. There are over eight lakh white card holders in the state.
While ration cards are basically meant for the purpose of distribution of rice, wheat and kerosene at subsidized rates through fair price shops, white card holders do not enjoy any this benefit. They are often used as residence proof for property transactions and driving licences. However, the government has barred the use of this document for the purpose.
An official said that the withdrawal of the white cards will save administrative expenses and streamline the card issuance process. The government simultaneously has plans to increase the financial criteria for saffron card holders. An official said that the plan was to absorb the borderline cases. Saffron cards are issued to people above the poverty line but whose annual income is under Rs 1 lakh. The state government plans to increase the income limit, an official said, adding that this was being done as the earning potential and the spending limit of lower middle class have grown substantially.
Meanwhile, to put an end to kerosene pilferage, the state food and civil supplies department is likely to ask the Centre for an overhaul of the public distribution system. Anil Deshmukh, minister, food and civil supplies, said the department plans to ask the Centre to stop distribution of kerosene through fair price shops. He said the department is likely to suggest that kerosene be sold at market rates. “Cash reimbursements equivalent to the subsidy being offered presently could instead be given to eligible families,” the minister said.
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