The state Food and Supplies department will distribute digital ration cards from Friday.
Jyotipriyo Mullick, state Food and Supplies minister said the new digital cards had been sent to the districts. The panchayats will distribute the cards in the districts while the civic bodies will distribute them in cities. The panchayats and civic bodies will inform people from when and where the cards will be distributed.
Mullick said though it took time to issue digital ration cards it was worth it as it would weed out corruption. Lakhs of people use fake ration cards and withdraw rice, wheat meant for the poor. The new system will put an end to this corruption, he maintained. To ensure that poor people were not deprived from getting ration, following instructions from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, people were allowed to get ration by showing old cards.
Senior officials of the Food and Supplies department said 8.01 crore people get weekly ration. Out of these, 6.01 crore people get Rs 2 per kilograms of rice and wheat per week under the Centre’s food security project.
The families get around 7 to 10 kg of rice and wheat per week. The state government gives an annual subsidy of Rs 5,400 crore per year to give rice and wheat at cheaper price.
It may be recalled that under the leadership of Jyotipriyo Mullick, raids were conducted all over the state and lakhs of fake ration cards were seized.
The department conducts surprise checks at the ration shops to ensure that poor quality rice and wheat are not given to the people.
It may be recalled that during the Left Front government, distribution of ration had become a major scam. Some ration dealers used to sell rice and wheat meant for the ration card holders in the market and inferior quality foodstuff were given to them.
After coming to power in 2011, Mamata Banerjee took steps to weed out corruption in the distribution system.