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Aadhar related problems

  • IASbaba
  • April 17, 2021
  • 0
UPSC Articles
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GOVERNANCE/ SECURITY

Topic:

  • GS-3: Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations.
  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation

Aadhar related problems

Context: The Supreme Court recently asked the Centre to respond to allegations made in a PIL by a Dalit woman from Jharkhand that 3 crore ration cards have been cancelled in the country because of the insistence on Aadhaar linkage and biometric authentication.

Ever since Aadhaar-based biometric authentication was introduced in PDS, there have been numerous reports about 

  • People’s fingerprints not getting confirmed by the e-PoS device at the ration shop, 
  • Iris scanners not being there as backup
  • Poor Internet connection forcing people to spend on another trip to the shop leading to loss of one day’s earnings

What has been the implication of such racancellation?

  • Beneficiaries are denied foodgrains due to non-possession/production of an Aadhaar ID or because their Aadhaar biometric details didn’t match or on account of technical or server issues.
  • As a result, the inaccessibility to food has caused starvation deaths
  • These administrative weaknesses has affected the food & nutritional security of our nation

Survey findings

  • 28% of those from ration-card-holding households, or over one in four households had indeed experienced a situation where they were denied foodgrains due to non-possession/production of Aadhar
  • While in percentage terms this may not seem all that high a figure to some, in absolute terms (extrapolating to the general household population) it would be huge.
  • Rural & Urban: Contrary to the notion that seeding and authentication problems are occurring mostly in remote areas, our data indicates that they are nearly of the same magnitude in villages and towns/cities
  • Disproportionate impact on poor: In both rural and urban areas, the poorest were worst affected – 39% of households with a monthly income below Rs 2,000 said they were at some point denied PDS ration due to Aadhaar problems.
  • Hindi States most impacted: In the Hindi belt — Bihar, Jharkhand, MP, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, UP and Uttarakhand -40% of RC-holding households reported a denial of ration due to Aadhaar issues compared to 20% households in the rest of the countr
    • Data also suggests that the problem may be less due to non-possession of Aadhaar and more due to biometric authentication and server issues, as respondents from 95% of RC-holding households in the ‘Hindi’ belt did report having Aadhaar.

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