Government directs fair price shops not to insist on Aadhaar linkage

In the backdrop of complaints of foodgrains through public distribution system being denied to beneficiaries for various reasons, the State government has directed fair price shops to not insist on Aadhaar linkage. To ensure foodgrains reach every poor beneficiary, the Food and Civil Supplies Department will also introduce tech-based measures to mitigate problems posed by Aadhaar.

“Aadhaar number is not mandatory. Any beneficiary family that is registered in the ration card list should not be denied foodgrains. Any such case should be brought to the notice of officials,” Food and Civil Supplies Minister U.T. Khader told presspersons here on Monday.

Of the 1.08 lakh BPL families receiving foodgrains at subsidised rates, just about 900 families are yet to link their Aadhaar with ration card. However, with complaints of slow Internet and power problems coming in where beneficiaries are unable to prove their Aadhaar identity, the department will introduce SMS-based barcode facility that can be used by the beneficiary.

“Beneficiaries need to only show the barcode at the shop and take the qouta of foodgrains in case biometric system does not work. We have phone numbers of nearly 60% beneficiaries and rest we are working to add. At the beginning of the month, barcode number will be sent to the phone via SMS,” he added.

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