The state food and supplies department is set to begin the application process for availing the non-foodgrain ration cards that can also be used as identity cards. The application forms would be available from the department’s website. The application forms would be available from the department’s website itself. Nabanna state secretariat has recently approved this form. According to sources, the process of distribution of these application forms would begin once government offices reopen after the Puja holidays on Wednesday.

The non-foodgrain ration card can be used as an identity proof in case there is a National Register of Citizens (NRC) drive in the state. In fact, this would help ration cardholders have the identity proof, even without availing the subsidised foodgrain. Last month, the state government had decided to issue two categories of ration cards. One card is to avail rations and another is non-foodgrain digital ration card. Earlier, chief minister Mamata Banerjee had proposed two categories of ration cards in the Assembly.

Replying to a question from Trinamul Kulpi MLA Jogodaranjan Haldar, she had said that many people, who do not withdraw ration under Public Distribution System, want to retain their ration cards as identity proofs and that once introduced, it would help the government bring another four to five per cent poor people under the PDS cover. Once the categorisation is made between the foodgrain and non-foodgrain ration card holders, then it would help the department prevent ration dealers from selling the subsidised foodgrain quota of those who don’t avail ration from PDS regularly.

Under the existing system, the food department allots rations for each ration card-holder. The foodgrain, if not availed by the card-holder, remains with the ration dealer. The department has got feedback that this amount is sold in the market at a premium amount. The department has already held camps at the block development offices for fresh inclusion of beneficiaries under the Rajya Khadya Suraksha Yojana –I (RKSY-I) scheme that allows beneficiaries to avail rice at Rs 2 per kg.