The government today said it has been able to achieve better targeting of Rs 17,500 crore worth food subsidy annually as bogus ration cards have been deleted and new cards issued to eligible beneficiaries under food law. In a written reply to the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Food and Consumer Affairs C R Chaudhary said the purpose of Aadhaar-based biometric authentication of beneficiaries is to correctly identify the eligible beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act (NFSA). He said states and Union Territories have deleted about 2.75 crore ration cards during 2013-2017. This has been done with the help of Aadhaar-based de- duplication of ration cards/beneficiaries and measures like digitisation of records, detection of in-eligible households/ beneficiaries under NFSA, transfer/migration/change in the economic status of households and deaths. De-duplication technique is used to eliminate duplicate set of data. “Against deleted ration cards, the State/UT governments have issued new ration cards to the eligible beneficiaries/ households under NFSA. Due to this, government is able to achieve an estimated ‘Rightful Targeting of Food Subsidy’ of about Rs 17,500 crore per annum,” Chaudhary said.
The minister said that under the food law, ceiling limit of beneficiaries for each State/UT has been fixed. Inclusion/ exclusion criteria of beneficiaries is decided and notified by State/UT concerned. Under the food law, the government provides 5 kg of foodgrains per person per month at a highly subsidised rates of Rs 1-3 per kg. More than 80 crore people are covered under this law, costing exchequer about Rs 1,40,000 crore per year.