Chandigarh: In yet another blow to the much touted Aadhaar eco-system, a recent case of a huge “scam” involving Aadhaar seeding of a large number of ration cards with unique identity (UID) numbers of those not entitled to subsidised ration has come to light in the Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department.

So the modus operandi worked something like this:

As on 12 May 2017, some 41.99 lakh beneficiaries were termed as “eliminated” as as they did not get Aadhaar seeding of their ration cards. However, the data of these beneficiaries were not removed from the system. This paved the way for corrupt officials to seed UID (Aadhaar) numbers of people who were otherwise not eligible to the existing data , thus enabling them to siphon off subsidized wheat.

The department now fears that many of the 15.11 lakh beneficiaries added after May 12 last year could be fake.

As a result , department Director Sanjeev Verma has requested the National Informatics Centre (NIC) to block the e-KYC functionality issued in user IDs of all Assistant Food and Supplies Officers (AFSOs) and Inspectors.

A much detailed report by The Tribune can be found here.

Pain without Gain?

In a time when numerous reports of misuse of Aadhaar keep popping up every other day , this comes as no surprise and only re-iterates the fact that Aadhaar does little to curb the so called “corruption/bogus entries” or whatever it is that it claims to eliminate.

While the  Government keeps re-iterating its own supposed claim about how foolproof the Aadhaar eco system is, the ground reality however, paints a completely contrasting picture. While people ineligible for subsidy have been siphoning off subsidized food , there have been numerous cases of genuine people being denied ration because of a number of reasons some of which are unable to link Aadhaar due to technical issues ,poor network connectivity, problematic fingerprint recognition , incorrect details and so on.

For instance, in Chhattisgarh, insistence on Aadhaar is actaully disrupting a successful PDS system. Similar cases can be seen in Jharkhand and Rajasthan too.

In fact , the Delhi government has decided to stop Aadhaar being mandatory for the distribution of ration citing numerous reports of hardship faced by people due to aadhaar authentication at ration shops.

The possibility of ration card fraud was also pointed out by us last year on our parent website.

The Supreme Court is currently hearing a clutch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar and its mandatory seeding to avail of government benefits. Arguments from both the petitioners and the Attorney General are said to conclude this week following which the Supreme court will reserve its judgement.


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