Even the dead get PDS benefits in Kerala!

Ration Card

The abuse of public distribution system is still on despite computerisation and myriad reforms over the years. The authorities have realised that even the deceased ‘continue to use’ the state government-issued ration cards that provide food at discount rates. The civil supplies department even found that those who had died four years ago are still 'benefitting' from the fair-price products.

The civil supplies directorate has instructed all district supply officers to rectify the anomalies at the earliest and present a fresh list of the PDS beneficiaries. The step comes ahead of the department’s plan to issue two lakh ration cards on a preferential basis ahead of Onam.

The non-renewal of the cards since 2014 has enabled even the deceased to buy rations, authorities said. While some families haven’t reported death(s) of members to the PDS authorities, others misuse the facility that permits purchase without getting fingerprints punched on the point-of-sale machines, thus diverting the stock to the undeserving.

The directorate has come out with strong plans to counter such tricks. Even senior government officials and high-income families are keeping with them preferential ration cards meant for the poor, officials learned.

The directorate has transferred to taluk supply officers the names of those who own vehicles (by sourcing the details from vehicle department) and property (through local and self-governance department). Based on the details, the officers will have to sieve the names and present fresh lists by August 15.

Seven-year jail

A wrong affidavit along with application for ration cards will invite penalty. An applicant will be charged with cheating for submitting false information and it can draw a punishment of imprisonment up to seven years. There could be fine as well.

The undeserving can escape such measures against them by surrendering their ration cards.

Who are the undeserving?

• Owners of four-wheeler(s)

• Owners who landed property measures more than 1 acre in total

• If the combined monthly income of the holders of a card is above Rs 25,000

• Those paying income tax

• If any member in the card has a job abroad

• If any member in the card has a private-firm income of Rs 25,000 or above

• If any member in the card has a house occupying more than 1,000 sq ft

• Widows who sons are 21 years or above

• If the card mentions more than one member as unemployed

• Those living in flats

• Government/PSU employees, those drawing service pension.

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