Hyderabad, June 14: Tennis star Sania Mirza may be a millionaire but her face appears on a ration card belonging to a below poverty line (BPL) family in Andhra Pradesh.
The white ration card, which makes a family eligible to get rice at a highly-subsidised price of Rs 2-a-kg and social security benefits health insurance and a permanent housing, has been issued to one Laxmi of Vizianagaram district with a photograph of Sania.
The revelation of the case has invited the wrath of Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy who reviewed the social security schemes at a high-level meeting here today, sources in the CMO said.
This only showed how blindly the ration cards were issued without any proper verification, the Chief Minister reportedly fumed at officials of the Civil Supplies Department.
While the state population is about 8.3 crore, the population figure, as per the number of ration cards issued, crossed 9.8 crore.
The Chief Minister himself revealed in the state Assembly three days ago that there were as many as 2.15 crore white ration cards, making those families eligible to draw subsidised rice and avail of other welfare schemes.
Over 80 per cent of the state population, which is below the poverty line, is covered under the Arogyasri health insurance scheme, the Chief Minister said.
The government, however, has recently initiated a programme to weed out bogus white ration cards so that only genuine beneficiaries accessed the welfare schemes.
“As per our estimate, there are a staggering 65 lakh bogus white ration cards in the state. In monetary terms, the burden on the state exchequer on account of this could be hundreds of crores of rupees not just in terms of rice but also health insurance, housing, pensions and other such welfare schemes,” a senior official said.
With the state government set to increase the subsidised rice quota from 20 to 30 kgs per month per white ration card from October, the financial burden on the state will increase by at least Rs 400 crore from Rs 18,00 crore to Rs 2200 crore.
The Chief Minister issued instructions to authorities to weed out all bogus ration cards at once after conducting a thorough verification.
Commissioner of Civil Supplies Sanjay Jaju made a presentation about the proposed cancellation of duplication process to eliminate bogus cards in different categories with some carrying same photographs, some with manipulated photographs (like in the Sania case) and in some cases same citizen/family obtaining different cards.
The Chief Minister directed that 20 special teams be constituted to conduct physical verification in each mandal.