Appellant: Almost 11 lacs new ration card applications pending before Govt., 5.5 lac have duplicate ration cards and 3 lacs ration card holders are deceased - CIC advises CM Delhi to take appropriate action on the concerned authorities to prevent wastage
O R D E R
The Appellant vide his RTI application sought information, as under:-
Please find attached communication dated 24-Sep-21 and 13-Dec-21 issued by Dept of Food of Ministry of Consumer Affairs of Central Govt. As per advisory dated 13-Dec-21, Delhi has 542,550 inter-state duplicates
a. Please tell date of receiving the above communications.
b. Please provide copy of notesheet detailing action taken on above communications.
c. Please provide steps taken on the above communications.
d. Please provide number of duplicates removed since receiving the above communications.
e. Please provide detail of political pressure, if any, to not act on de-duplication list.
f. Please tell number of New Ration Card applications pending as on 31-Oct-2022.
g. Please tell total number of beneficiaries in the above Ration Card applications.
h. Please tell number of Addition applications to Existing Ration Card pending as on 31-Oct2022.
i. Please tell total number of beneficiaries approved but pending at Allocation Branch as on 31- Oct-2022.
The CPIO, Department of Food & Supplies and Consumers Affairs, vide letter dated 22.11.2022 furnished a point-wise reply to the Appellant. Dissatisfied with the reply received from the CPIO, the Appellant filed a First Appeal, which was not adjudicated by the First Appellate Authority. Thereafter, the Appellant filed a Second Appeal before the Commission.
Facts emerging during the hearing:
The following were present:
Appellant: Aakash Goel attended the hearing.
Respondent: Neeraj Kumar Oswal, JA attended the hearing.
The Appellant while reiterating the contents of the RTI Application stated that he had sought information regarding the number of new ration card application pending as on 31/10/2022. He submitted that there are almost 11 lacs new ration card applications pending before the government. And as per the records of September and November, 2021 provided by the central government to the Delhi government it was revealed that almost 5.5 lac ration card holders have duplicate ration cards and 3 lacs of the ration card holders are already deceased whose name are enlisted in the ration card list. Therefore the appellant requested the commission to direct the respondent authority to provide the complete and detailed information for the benefit of the society.
The Respondent while defending their case inter alia submitted that the information that is available has been furnished and rest of the information is not available to the department.
The Commission after adverting to the facts and circumstances of the case, submission made by both the parties and perusal of records, deems this matter of utmost public importance as many as 8.50 lakh beneficiaries out of the pending list of 11 lakh beneficiaries who are waiting to come on the ration card list could have been accommodated in the said list, had the Delhi Government removed approx. 5.5 lakh duplicate names along with the names of approx. 3 lakh people who are deceased from the said list. This shows a shocking lack of sensitivity on the part of powers that be towards an area that plays a key role in poverty alleviation and uplifting the standard of living of the weaker sections.
Further, the Commission observes that such issues give rise to problems like delays in essential food distribution to those in need whereas the wrongdoers are getting double supply of the ration, which is an extremely essential issue which needs to be addressed as soon as possible by the concerned authority in order to make best utilization of the resources provided by the government of India to the economically weaker and poor section of the society.
Therefore the Commission advises Hon Chief Minister of Delhi to take appropriate and strict action on the concerned authorities in order to prevent the resource of government going into vain and not letting the needy people avail the benefit of the ration card issued by the government for the weaker sections of the society. Additionally, the Commission advises the Chief Minister to complete the exercise of removing these approx. 8.40 lakh names without delay so that almost 80 percent of the needy people on the ration card list are accommodated and are able to ease their burden of living.
Moreover, the Commission observes that an incomplete reply been furnished by the CPIO as per the provisions of the RTI Act, 2005, and directs the Respondent to provide complete and updated reply to the Appellant, in accordance with the spirit of transparency and accountability as enshrined in the RTI Law.
The Appeal stands disposed accordingly.
Citation: Mr. Aakash Goel v. Department of Food & Supplies and Consumers Affairs, CIC/FSACA/A/2023/602410-UM Date of Decision: 20.10.2023