The Number of Fake and Bogus Ration Cards across India

The Government created and came up with ration cards decades ago to provide subsidized food grains to different sections of society. This system, called the public distribution system is working well for the largest part of India, however, there are a few flaws with the system. This could probably be the case with any system that had to be implemented in a country with as large a population as India.

In India, people claim food subsidies through their ration card, with multiple fair price shops giving them what they are looking for, at a lower price. This process might vary slightly across different states in the country. Throughout India, however, the ration card system, like the Pan Card or Aadhaar card has been plagued with multiple scams during its implementation.

Unlike most other forms of identification, the ration card is not handled individually but rather through a family or household. The card tracks the household income of different individuals and according to their financial standing in society, provides them with one of three versions of a ration card. Each card provides the user with a different quantity of grain.

Without any approvals, individuals across states have gone ahead and created fake ration cards, allowing one individual to avail of larger amounts of food grain. Since this food grain is actually sold at a subsidised price, they sell it at the actual price allowing them to make a profit. This then reduces the amount of food grain left to provide to the genuine cases at the fair price shop.

Here are the number of fake ration cards in some major Indian states. In some cases, Governments went ahead and cancelled them since they were gained through illegal means or did not have enough documentation when submitted.

State Number of Fake or Bogus Ration Cards
Delhi 900000
Rajasthan 23300000
Gujarat 160000
West Bengal 5967000
Maharashtra 5407000
Karnataka 3019000
Andhra Pradesh 2727000
Bihar 777000
Kerala 3200000
Uttar Pradesh 2700000

To prevent this issue of bogus ration cards moving forward, many states have already gone ahead and began working on a system to digitise the rashan card. Some states are linking the ration card to the Aadhaar card to reduce the number of ration cards an individual can hold. It makes the system of tracking and associating individuals and families a lot easier. Other states, like Gujarat and Assam are taking their applicants biometrics and attaching them to the ration card which would raise red flags when an individual tries to get another.

As a short term solution to the ration card issue, various state Governments have gone ahead and cancelled large numbers of fake ration cards. Other states are discussing guidelines that they would be able to follow while following suit soon. These major steps by the Government would create a new and improved approach for the public distribution system or call for a revamp of the same.