Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah Questions BPL Card Validity Amid Concerns of Widespread Fraud

Bengaluru: Karnataka, known as one of India’s prosperous states, is now facing scrutiny after Chief Minister Siddaramaiah raised critical questions regarding the state’s Below Poverty Line (BPL) statistics. In a recent meeting with state officials, CM Siddaramaiah expressed alarm over the burgeoning number of fake BPL cards, questioning how 80% of Karnataka’s citizens could be below the poverty line.

Highlighting the disparity, CM Siddaramaiah noted that in Tamil Nadu, 40% of the population holds BPL cards, whereas, according to NITI Aayog, only 5.67% of Karnataka’s citizens should be classified as BPL. Despite this, out of 1.47 crore families, 4.67 crore people in Karnataka possess BPL cards.

In response, CM Siddaramaiah sternly directed officials to revoke all fraudulent cards while ensuring genuine BPL cards are issued to the truly needy. Presently, 4.67 crore people hold BPL cards in the state, with 80% of families—totaling 1.27 crore—claiming BPL status. Additionally, 2.95 lakh new BPL card applications are pending approval.

“According to NITI Aayog, the number of poor people in the state has decreased, so why hasn’t the number of BPL cards decreased? In Tamil Nadu, it is 40%. A review should be conducted, and ineligible cardholders should be removed. Similarly, the process of deleting the names of deceased members should be expedited,” CM Siddaramaiah insisted.

The Food and Civil Supplies Department reported that between December 2021 and February 2024, officials identified and eliminated 6.17 lakh fake BPL cards. However, 2.95 lakh new applications for BPL cards remain pending.

As the finance minister of the state, CM Siddaramaiah stressed the importance of accurately identifying beneficiaries for the government’s Anna Bhagya and Griha Lakshmi schemes, which together cost over Rs 28,000 crore. He also pointed out that there are around 76 lakh pensioners in the state and instructed officials to halt payments to deceased pensioners promptly.

The issue of fraudulent BPL cards raises significant concerns about the integrity of social welfare schemes in Karnataka, prompting a rigorous review and necessary corrective measures to ensure resources reach those genuinely in need.

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