Bitter, but fact. Nara Chandrababu Naidu-led Telugu Desam government’s decision to turn a blind eye or deaf ear to concerns raised by experts, the government;s decision to increase the number of welfare schemes’ beneficiaries, raised many eyebrows.
If the move was not to drum up support ahead of the 2019 elections, then what else for this? It will cost the state exchequer a whopping Rs153.56 crore additional burden. Ironically, it is also in violation of rules as the number of ration cards issued is already more than the total number of families in AP.
Despite the Civil Supplies Department’s word of caution, the TDP government is adamant about sanctioning 1.91 lakh ration cards in addition to the existing 1.44 crore. If the plan comes into force and the 12 lakh applications for issuing split cards is accepted, the total number of new cards will reach 1.58 crore though the total number of households is just 1.38 crore as per Smart Pulse Survey.
With Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu himself having stressed at the Collectors’ Conference that flagship programmes, including Public Distribution System (PDS), should not be affected at any cost, officials seem to have no choice but to toe the government’s line.
“When issuing new ration cards was proposed, we explained that the number of cards is already more than the number of families in the state. What can we do if the government has decided to go ahead with the plan?” a Civil Supplies Department official said.
When asked if the move violated rules, the official replied that the decision was purely political and bureaucrats had no choice but to execute the government’s directions.
In addition to the existing 1,44,28,017 ration cards, the government has received 19,25,671 applications for new cards. After scrutiny, 72,362 applicants were disqualified and 1,91,380 new ration cards issued.
It has also been decided to accept 12,35,889 applications for split cards (persons wanting to be removed from their family’s ration card after marriage and apply for a new ration card on his/her behalf).
- 1,44,28,017 Number of existing ration cards
- 1,91,380 New cards ready for distribution
- 12,35,889 Split cards
- 1,58,55,286 Total number after issuance of new ration cards
- 1,38,26,786 No. of households in AP
- 4,16,98,126 Units as per ration cards
- 4,93,86,799 Units as per 2011 census