Govt to scrutinize 65 lakh J&K UT Ration Card holders falling in AAY/PHH category
JAMMU, Mar 5: The Government of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has launched a massive exercise to scrutinize a whopping number of nearly 65 lakh beneficiaries under AAY and PHH (Below Poverty Line-BPL) category in Jammu and Kashmir and asked the ration card holders under these categories to produce documentary evidence for the same before the respective Tehsil Supply Officers.
Official sources said that the number of BPL category people are much more than those falling in Non-Priority House Hold (NPHH), earlier APL category in the Jammu and Kashmir. While the number of people falling in NPHH in J&K before creation of UT were nearly 45 lakhs and those PHH /BPL nearly 74 lakhs in Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh. But at present, as per figures taken from the Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department, the number of AAY and PHH (BPL) beneficiaries in Kashmir and Jammu Divisions are nearly 65.52 lakhs.
Sources further said that, as per figures, out of the total number under AAY plus PHH categories, 56.31 lakh people /rationees fall in PHH category and nearly 9.21 lakh under AAY category.
Out of the 56.31 lakhs, 25.28 lakhs belong to Jammu Division while 31.03 lakhs Kashmir. Under AAY category, 2.82 lakh ration beneficiaries belongs to Jammu region while 6.38 lakh Kashmir Division. Under NPHH category, about 15 lakh (14.92 ) beneficiaries hailing from Jammu division fall while the number in Kashmir is about 26 lakhs, the sources added.
“After the implementation of Food Security Act in Jammu and Kashmir, the BPL and APL categories were redefined and exercise of preparing new ration cards was started.
Many people taking undue advantage of politics patronage and links, produced bogus/ fraudulent documents so as to find place in PHH/AAY categories.
The present administration after observing a whopping number of PHH/AAY (BPL) people falling in the category and taking undue advantage, decided to go for major scrutiny and seek documentary evidence from the ration card holders in J&K. The people/ card holders failing in these categories have been asked to report to their concerned TSO for exclusion/ inclusion in these categories as per their claim. The government may go for cancellation if no such proof was provided within a specific time frame,” the sources added.
The sources said the FCS & CA, UT of J&K has notified ” Jammu and Kashmir Food Security Rules” vide SO No. 389 dated 16-11-2021 and has laid down criteria for exclusion/ inclusion under National Food Security Act.
The same has been reproduced further. The households with one member as Tax payer will be excluded from these categories. The businessmen with annual turnover of Rs 25 lakh and above; persons having handholding above 10 kanals in case of individuals and 20 kanals in case of joint family in urban areas, 30 kanals and 50 kanals in rural areas; all Gazetted officers or equivalent ranks in Corporations, Boards, PSUs etc; all persons holding Constitutional authority/ positions and any household having annual family income of more than 5 lakhs shall be excluded from PHH/AAY categories and placed in NPHH category.
The Government has further issued J&K Targeted Public Distribution System (Control) Order, 2023 vide SO- 41 wherein it has been warned that in case of fraud by any ineligible beneficiary, criminal proceedings will be initiated against him/ her besides suspension in case of Government employee, cancellation of Ration Card and initiation of recovery proceedings.
Sources said that for all AAY families, the criteria is already defined. Households without shelter, with destitute person who is living on alms, headed by a widow or single woman (unmarried/ separated/ deserted), headed by differently abled person, transgender person, headed by minor or orphan, dependent on daily wage labour; household with old persons, age 60 years or above with no regular income, support or assured means of living; family of irregular wagers, Tribal households with no regular source of income, slum dwellers, rag pickers, unskilled workers, agriculture labourers, Shikara Wallas, Poneywallas, domestic workers, sweepers etc fall in the above mentioned category.
Director, FCS &CA , Jammu Naseem Javed, however, when contacted said that no doubt the Government has issued public notice for initiating this exercise and cooperate with the department, but he said it was part of exclusion/inclusion exercise of the department.
He termed it as routine exercise and said many names may be excluded or even included during this process.