New Delhi: The issue of distribution of ration cards to BPL families on Tuesday saw some Lok Sabha members demanding universal implementation of the scheme even as the government maintained that it was following old survey figures to cover more people.
Replying to supplementaries during Question Hour, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Minister Sharad Pawar said there were reports of bogus ration cards being issued.
Pawar said the Centre had asked state governments to check issue of bogus cards and more than 1.5 crore bogus cards had been found. The minister said there was need to stop this practice as substantial subsidy was given under PDS scheme.
He maintained that as per a decision taken 10 years ago, the government was using the 1993-94 survey figures as per which 36 percent of the population was Below Poverty Line (BPL). As per this survey, 6.52 crore families came under BPL.
He said if the 2004-05 survey was taken into account, only 27.5 percent of the population would come under BPL category.
Speaker Meira Kumar suggested that this was an important issue and 30 minutes should be set aside during one of the working days for a discussion.
Pawar said Planning Commission is the nodal agency for setting guidelines for implementation of PDS and issue of ration cards and added that the reports of Arjun Sen Gupta and other committees dealing with poverty issues had not been accepted so far.
He said the urban and rural development ministries have been asked to give suggestions for improving the PDS and ration card distribution.