A little over 1.15 lakh priority category ration cards held by ineligible people have been surrendered during a one-month grace period announced by the Food and Civil Supplies Department.
The department had taken steps to fill these ‘vacancies’ with families eligible for priority and Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) category cards, Minister for Food and Civil Supplies G.R. Anil said here on Friday.
A total of 1,15,858 cards were surrendered between June 17 and July 15. This included 9,284 AAY cards, 61,612 priority households (PHH) cards, and 44,962 non-priority State subsidy (NPS) cards.
Ineligible individuals in possession of priority category cards were given the one-month grace period to surrender them without any penalty. The step was taken as a part of ‘cleansing’ the priority quota list.
Malappuram district tops the list of people who have now applied for card conversion after surrendering their existing cards (25,021), followed by Palakkad (13,038). More than 10,000 people had applied for card conversion in Ernakulam and Kozhikode districts, Mr. Anil said.
Legal action could be initiated against cardholders who continued to use priority cards without being eligible for them, he indicated. “The State government is not out to take revenge on anyone. The government just wants to make sure that the allocations are going to the eligible,” he said.
At the same time, the government has also requested the Centre to enhance the priority category quota of the State, which is low when compared to many other States, Mr. Anil said. “The priority category quota now stands at 1,54,80,000 people. We have asked the Centre to increase it,” he said.
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