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20,000 Rajasthan govt employees to pay for taking ration meant for poor families

Rajasthan will recover dues from around 20,000 government employees who had illegally taken ration meant for poor families under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) in the state, food and civil supplies minister Ramesh Meena said on Tuesday.

The issue was raised in the assembly by the deputy leader of the opposition, Rajendra Rathore, who wanted to know if the government would take action against the guilty employees.

Ramesh Meena said the government is reviewing the matter and a probe is underway. He said the government will recover the money from those officials who have taken the ration against the rules on the market rate.

The state’s additional commissioner (food), Suresh Gupta, has issued an order to all collectors asking them to conduct a survey of the beneficiaries. During the survey, it was found that government employees were also on the list of beneficiaries under the roof law, which entitles the poor subsidised ration.

Gupta has asked collectors to find out about the employees who took ration under NFSA and make a recovery at Rs 27 per kg of ration, which is the economic value of the food grains after taking into account the expenses incurred by the Indian Food Corporation and the state’s food department.

Under the NFSA, 25 kg wheat is given at Rs 2 per kilogram to below poverty line (BPL) families and Rs 35 kg wheat is given under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana. There are 49.7 million beneficiaries under NFSA in Rajasthan.

Of these, 279,300 beneficiaries are under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana while 46.9 million are under the Priority Households that comprise BPL, state BPL and APL.

NFSA was launched by the Centre in 2013 and government employees were taking ration under the scheme in violation of the rules.

Gupta said a survey was done by the district food officers and they gave an estimate that around 20,000 government employees have illegally taken the ration.

The department had in the past struck off names of 70,000 government employees from the list of beneficiaries who were found ineligible to take the ration.

Collectors have been now asked to recover dues from the government employees. In case of recovery not made, collectors can write to the concerned departments and ask that the salary of the employee be stopped.

Those who are not eligible under NFSA are employees of the government or semi-government departments, local self-government, income taxpayers or someone who owns a four-wheeler.

Families that own land which is above the limit earmarked for small and marginal farmers also come under this category. In urban areas, a person should not own land exceeding 1000 sq feet in slums or 1500 sq feet in the municipality area to get the benefits.

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