RTI reponse reveals over 18 lakh ration cards applications pending in UP; 56.8% requests rejected

The large backlog of pending ration card applications and the return of more than 30 lakh migrant workers to Uttar Pradesh during the COVID-19-induced lockdown is a worrying combination, especially when many have lost their means of livelihood

Sumit Chaturvedi September 20, 2020 09:55:26 IST
RTI reponse reveals over 18 lakh ration cards applications pending in UP; 56.8% requests rejected

Representational image. PTI

Lakhs of migrant workers who returned to their hometowns in Uttar Pradesh during the lockdown are eagerly waiting for their ration cards in order to avail subsidised food grains allocated under the Public Distribution System in this time of crisis under. An RTI reply has revealed the state has over 18 lakh ration card applications pending with a whopping 91.9 percent of them pending beyond the stipulated 30 days for approval.

Uttar Pradesh has witnessed maximum number of migrant workers in the country with more than 31 lakhs having returned from other states during the lockdown, the state's chief secretary had informed on 4 June, 2020.

On 12 May, 2020, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath had given specific directions that those in need and eligible for subsideised ration should be provided with ration cards, including migrant workers.

Between late March when the lockdown was announced in India and the month of May, the state has reportedly issued more than 5.8 lakh ration cards. Yet, 18,84,537 (or 10.2 percent) of the total applications for new ration cards are pending in the state.

In all, the state received 1,85,57,659 applications under the State e-Governance Service Delivery Gateway (SSDG) system run by the Food and Civil Supplies Department of Uttar Pradesh. This information has been provided by the department in response to an RTI application filed by this author.

While the response from the department does not mention the time period in which these applications were received, the date mentioned for the data compiled by the department is 31 July, 2020.

The author has enquired from the department regarding the time period for the applications received and the details are awaited.

As per the RTI response, out of the total pending applications, only 1,58,251 or 8.1 percent are pending within the stipulated time period of 30 days for application approval, while 17,31,686 (or a whopping 91.9 percent) are those pending beyond 30 days.

Of the total 1.86 crore applications received, the department has accepted 61,29,525 applications (or 33 percent) while 1,05,43,597 (or 56.8 percent) applications have been rejected.

RTI reponse reveals over 18 lakh ration cards applications pending in UP 568 requests rejected

Over 30 lakh migrant workers have returned to Uttar Pradesh during Lockdown. AP

The information released via RTI also gives a district-wise breakdown of the ration card applications as well. Out of total 75 districts in the state, the highest number of applications have been received in Sitapur district in Eastern Uttar Pradesh. The district also has the highest number of rejections.

The least number of applicatios were received in Sonbhadra district in Western Uttar Pradesh. Sonbhadra also ranks lowest in terms of ration card applications approved, rejected as well as pending. Kanpur Nagar in central Uttar Pradesh has the highest number of applications awaiting approval.

Among the four regions in Uttar Pradesh — Western, Eastern, Central and Bundelkhand — the highest average number of applications per district have been received in Central Uttar Pradesh while the least have been received in the Bundelkhand region.

An analysis of the ration card applications processed by the Food and Civil Supplies Department as stated in the RTI response, revealed a strong positive correlation between the average gross domestic product (GDP) per district (as per the 2017-18 official data from Uttar Pradesh Directorate of Economics and Statistics) and the average number of applications received per district in each of the four regions.

Analysis of total applications shows that the more is the average GDP per district of a particular region, the more are the average number of applications received, betraying the logic that people in wealthier regions are less reliant on PDS.

However, an analysis of the total existing ration card holders in the four regions paints the opposite picture.

There is a fairly strong negative correlation between the region-wise average GDP per district and the average existing ration card holders per district, respectively. What this means is that the more is the average GDP per district of the region, the lesser is the average number of ration card holders per district in each region.

Table 1: Region-wise Ration Card Statistics

Regions Number of Applications Received Average Gross Net Product per District (Crores) Average Ration Cards per District
Bundelkhand 118317.4 8898.393 473909.9
Central UP 368249.2 22130.62 363557.7
Eastern UP 237428.3 12363.66 504035.3
Western UP 250992.4 22034.79 485337.2
Source: UP Directorate of Economics and Statistics (for economic data); Food and Civil Supplies Department (for ration card data, accessed on 4 September 2020); RTI response (ration card applications)

 

As of 4 September, the total number of ration cards in the state stood at more than 3.58 crores with more than 3.17 crores priority households, which include both the Below Poverty Line (BPL) and Above Poverty Line (APL) households as per the National Food Security Act 2013 (NFSA). At the same time, there are more than 40.77 Antyodaya ration card holders in the state. On average, the highest number of average ration cards per district is found in the Eastern UP region followed by Western UP, Bundelkhand and Central UP.

Table 2: Bundelkhand Region Ration Card Statistics and Economic Performance

District Total Applications Accepted applications Rejected Applications Pending applications within time limit (30 days) Pending applications outside time limit (30 days) Total Pending Applications Gross Net Product (Crores) Per Capita Net Product Total Ration Card Holders
Chitrakoot 145623 35650 98060 684 11229 11913 6477.23 56402 443449
Banda 210741 42474 160492 797 6978 7775 7083.05 36320 199569
Mahoba 50560 22670 17596 1270 9024 10294 8763.35 89035 421760
Hamirpur 92166 56639 27309 1054 7164 8218 6507.16 58109 633554
Jalaun 89609 51992 21778 1938 13901 15839 10293.76 56473 583545
Jhansi 126494 82794 31200 2408 10092 12500 15551.24 72827 798358
Lalitpur 113029 63548 26323 1151 22007 23158 7612.96 55083 237134
Total 828222 355767 382758 9302 80395 89697 62288.75 3317369
Average per district 118317.4 50823.86 54679.71 1328.857 11485 12813.86 8898.393 60607 473909.9
Source: UP Directorate of Economics and Statistics (for economic data); Food and Civil Supplies Department (for ration card data, accessed on 4 September 2020); RTI response (ration card applications)

 

Table 3: Central UP Ration Card Statistics and Economic Performance

District Total Applications Accepted applications Rejected Applications Pending applications within time limit (30 days) Pending applications outside time limit (30 days) Total Pending Applications Gross Net Product (Crores) Per Capita Net Product Total Ration Card Holders
Kanpur Dehat 138099 67995 55169 1418 13517 14935 9992.79 51963 352372
Kanpur Nagar 399043 241537 71924 4329 81253 85582 39243.42 82378 199280
Fatehpur 338881 63955 253922 1743 19261 21004 13064.19 46574 334809
Unnav 250278 111400 105391 4904 28583 33487 17038.46 51135 584509
Khiri 431264 121447 258333 994 50490 51484 21974.19 48188 388536
RaiBareily 98583 41579 38463 1259 17282 18541 12213.68 34227 316428
Lucknow 304911 182753 79672 5211 37275 42486 47943.97 91901 311991
Sitapur 926675 189914 672153 1787 62821 64608 20644.46 40924 564195
Hardoi 426509 166995 230612 2717 26185 28902 17060.45 37745 219899
Total 3314243 1187575 1765639 24362 336667 361029 199175.6 3272019
Average per district 368249.2 131952.8 196182.1 2706.889 37407.44 40114.33 22130.62 53892.78 363557.7
Source: UP Directorate of Economics and Statistics (for economic data); Food and Civil Supplies Department (for ration card data, accessed on 4 September 2020); RTI response (ration card applications)

 

Table 4: Eastern UP Ration Card Statistics and Economic Performance

District Total Applications Accepted applications Rejected Applications Pending applications within time limit (30 days) Pending applications outside time limit (30 days) Total Pending Applications Gross Net Product (Crores) Per Capita Net Product Total Ration Card Holders
Amethi 45239 3201 40265 312 1461 1773 8405.59 47791 714539
Ambedkar Nagar 345454 82294 245951 1507 15702 17209 8667.29 33117 664287
Ayodhya 461237 94886 346208 3745 16398 20143 11674.8 43292 399409
Barabanki 374051 77204 267252 1447 28148 29595 15845.34 43640 356374
Sultanpur 77255 9429 58214 978 8634 9612 11197.4 42920 334067
Azamgarh 550836 199447 303362 2416 45611 48027 16918.81 33823 643064
Baliya 227976 128000 66157 2733 31086 33819 10352.98 29441 795230
Mau 291107 82601 185468 1674 21364 23038 9152.81 37872 436367
Kushinagar 96070 2985 90872 292 1921 2213 13730.77 34363 306180
Gorakhpur 90124 25864 31326 5052 27882 32934 21888.68 45283 296090
Devariya 506337 130495 339976 1953 33913 35866 11180.53 33789 346098
Maharaj Ganj 65309 2317 60309 463 2220 2683 10602.76 35175 498254
Gonda 335538 77496 221410 3139 33493 36632 13616.57 35193 222125
Balrampur 121052 18650 93216 1240 7946 9186 6904.98 27996 781150
Bahraich 238891 32324 197880 1186 7501 8687 12722.93 29038 289100
Shravasti 135060 39778 87468 507 7307 7814 3546.51 33604 291100
Kaushambi 171058 42913 110708 700 16737 17437 6909.95 38434 798639
Pratapgarh 694516 203440 450013 1887 39176 41063 10087.14 28929 381160
Prayagraj 910340 345520 495097 4645 65078 69723 41853.98 63582 315716
Basti 125577 34505 74809 2145 14118 16263 11089.03 41248 715567
Sant Kabir Nagar 86603 10360 69983 1608 4652 6260 5013.67 26421 268593
Siddharth Nagar 144992 23308 104371 2431 14882 17313 8693.35 29943 769219
Mirzapur 34406 5160 16331 955 11960 12915 12313.96 45260 1047308
Sant Ravidas Nagar (Bhadoi) 86166 14919 54471 1474 15302 16776 7687.05 45059 557344
Sonbhadra 12053 490 10918 45 600 645 13385.96 62757 415864
Ghazipur 211868 48773 142142 2131 18822 20953 12529.08 31555 206482
Chandauli 57627 15043 31519 1205 9860 11065 7333.4 34307 460611
Jaunpur 337488 14914 298828 3194 20552 23746 15243.93 31682 903771
Varanasi 51191 3050 40476 1550 6115 7665 19996.85 50153 403315
Total 6885421 1769366 4535000 52614 528441 581055 358546.1 14617023
Average per District 237428.3 61012.62 156379.3 1814.276 18222.1 20036.38 12363.66 38471.28 504035.3
Source: UP Directorate of Economics and Statistics (for economic data); Food and Civil Supplies Department (for ration card data, accessed on 4 September 2020); RTI response (ration card applications)

 

Table 5: Western UP Ration Card Statistics and Economic Performance

District Total Applications Accepted applications Rejected Applications Pending applications within time limit (30 days) Pending applications outside time limit (30 days) Total Pending Applications Gross Net Product (Crores) Per Capita Net Product Total Ration Card Holders
Aligarh 365112 172698 154595 4079 33740 37819 23305.32 56717 259229
Etah 148444 53213 77675 1820 15736 17556 10822.26 83490 431559
Kasganj 142641 45786 77086 1680 18089 19769 11323 72766 788018
Hathras 115316 53492 44547 790 16487 17277 10132.11 59725 204570
Agra 427559 133568 224309 4761 64921 69682 45605.77 92640 698931
Firozabad 305050 107810 165427 1218 30595 31813 14832.87 53401 592407
Mathura 99906 60360 29125 2530 7891 10421 16595.62 58251 335848
Mainpuri 204037 97310 79163 1548 26016 27564 8939.31 44149 364692
Etawah 233539 97894 119388 2677 13580 16257 9772.89 56657 618970
Auraiya 211271 61771 134130 1495 13875 15370 6759.41 45244 511195
Kannauj 263445 98035 145640 1081 18689 19770 12089.62 66506 593468
Farukkhabad 238963 116123 105713 1284 15843 17127 9659.6 46497 568433
Pilibhit 258909 57057 176907 1316 23629 24945 14143.05 62038 757539
Badayun 316384 103747 181072 3179 28386 31565 17590.36 43375 251553
Bareily 723247 166608 478728 3601 74310 77911 37186.71 74683 303296
Shajahanpur 509708 160376 314952 3849 30531 34380 17451.72 53272 847013
Ghaziabad 232295 124949 63293 3765 40288 44053 35386.02 81856 182287
Gautam Buddh Nagar 88869 52949 20630 1771 13519 15290 118055.8 595551 497649
Bulandshahar 117124 51632 43566 2359 19567 21926 28360.9 73520 310278
Baghpat 67678 43232 16832 1231 6383 7614 10429.3 76048 462169
Meerut 375324 221854 108086 5135 40249 45384 41694.88 113091 379781
Hapur 29999 12640 11307 826 5226 6052 11781.82 80574 495408
Amroha 234064 91400 119399 717 22548 23265 17935.57 87153 456104
Bijnaur 372465 130631 201629 2699 37506 40205 26204.39 65451 556702
Moradabad 353322 114219 202332 1212 35559 36771 21849.74 61705 501165
Rampur 86331 28225 31447 604 26055 26659 17952.19 69222 378520
Sambhal 124586 59841 36388 1543 26814 28357 10673.2 43427 584125
Muzzafarnagar 350158 140842 176315 2734 30267 33001 21530.03 69219 440017
Shamli 197124 63109 120719 1865 11431 13296 8864.83 64864 593340
Saharanpur 336903 95446 199800 3204 38453 41657 24115.35 63264 595851
Total 7529773 2816817 3860200 66573 786183 852756 661043.6 14560117
Average per District 250992.4 93893.9 128673.3 2219.1 26206.1 28425.2 22034.79 83811.87 485337.2
Source: UP Directorate of Economics and Statistics (for economic data); Food and Civil Supplies Department (for ration card data, accessed on 4 September 2020); RTI response (ration card applications)

 

Surprisingly, Bundelkhand, despite having the lowest average per district GDP, has received the lowest number of average applications for new ration cards per district. It should be noted that the region is widely perceived as underdeveloped and suffering from large scale hunger.

In fact, Bundelkhand is the only region with a strong negative correlation between the per capita income of districts and the number of applications, ie, the more is the per capita income the lesser is the number of applications received in the districts of the region.

Incidentally, Bundelkhand has had more per capita availability of food grains than the state average as observed between years 1997 and 2006 in the 2009 study on the region by AK Singh, A Joshi and Nomita P Kumar from the Giri Institute of Development Studies.

Central Uttar Pradesh which includes important administrative and business districts such as Lucknow and Kanpur, though with the lowest average number of ration card holders per district in the state, has received maximum average number of applications per district.

A large backlog of pending applications and the return of more than 30 lakh migrant workers is a worrying combination. Moreover, the pending applications also include those received before the current crisis. The introduction of new ration cards in the state in 2016 replacing the old ones had left many erstwhile ration card holders without one. These ration cards are also a prerequisite for availing benefits for many other schemes such as Ujjwala Gas Yojana (scheme).

While the lockdown has spelled disaster for returning migrant workers, those eligible for ration cards who were already living here and have been hit hard by the suspension of economic activity also urgently need them. With slow resumption of economic activity many of the applicants, especially those belonging to the unorganised sector require immediate relief in form of ration allocated under the NFSA.

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