Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today ordered re-verification of the list of ‘Blue Card’ beneficiaries under the ‘Atta-Dal’ scheme to make it more comprehensive. He also directed that the scheme be linked with Aadhaar cards and that families of farmers who had committed suicide as well as landless labourers be brought under the ambit of the programme. A decision to this effect was taken at a review meeting of the state Food and Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs department, chaired by the Chief Minister, an official spokesman said.
It was decided at the meeting to scale up the scheme by converting the existing ‘Blue Cards’ to ‘Smart Ration Cards’ to make them functionally advanced, and to rid the existing cards of the “political tag attached to them by the erstwhile SAD-BJP government which had added 7 lakh beneficiaries to the scheme in the last 6-7 months of its tenure”.
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With an estimated 2-3 per cent of the total 1.39 crore beneficiaries reported to be “undeserving” and included in the list due to their political affiliations to previous SAD-BJP dispensation, the Chief Minister directed the department to check the list thoroughly to weed out the undeserving lot, he said. “Many Congress workers had been denied the right to avail the scheme by the previous government,” Amarinder said.
The meeting also decided that no photographs of politicians would be put on the new smart cards. The Chief Minister asked the department to define a clear and transparent system of creating and distributing the cards to ensure that only genuine beneficiaries get access to the benefits, the spokesman said.
It was also decided to regularise and streamline the distribution process in view of reports that since August 2014, ‘dal’ (pulses) have been distributed erratically under the scheme, especially from January-March and December 2016, he added.