Beneficiary not to be denied food grains without Aadhaar, seeding to be completed by Sep 30: Food and Public Distribution Dept

New Delhi [India], May 11 (ANI): The Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ministry on Monday clarified that it has issued clear instructions to all States that no genuine beneficiary or household shall be denied entitled quota of foodgrains or their names and ration cards shall not be cancelled only on the ground of not possessing an Aadhaar number.

In a release, the ministry said that it has been reported in a section of media that ration cards of those who do not provide Aadhaar number will be cancelled.

It said that the timeline given to the states and union territories under the Aadhaar notification of the Department of Food and Public Distribution (amended from time-to-time) to complete the seeding of Aadhaar numbers with all ration cards/beneficiaries has been extended up to September 30 this year.

"Until then, Department has issued clear instructions to all states/UTs vide letters dated October 24, 2017, and November 8, 2018, that no genuine beneficiary/household shall be denied from the entitled quota of food grains or their names/ration cards shall not be deleted/cancelled only on the ground of not possessing an Aadhaar number," the release said.

It said instructions have also been issued that the foodrains under NFSA (National Food Security Act) shall not be denied due to failure of biometric or Aadhaar authentication of beneficiary because of poor biometrics of the beneficiary, issues with "network/connectivity/linking" or any other technical reasons.

Referring to the crisis created by a coronavirus, the ministry said a pragmatic approach is needed so that no poor or deserving person or family is denied access to foodgrains.

"In due course, linking of Aadhaar to the ration card and beneficiaries will ensure that no person entitled to such ration is denied such access," it said.

The release said that due to relentless efforts of the central and state governments, nearly 90 per cent of 23.5 crore ration cards are already seeded with the Aadhaar numbers of ration card holders (i.e., at least one member of the family).

It said nearly 85 per cent of all 80 crore beneficiaries have also seeded their Aadhaar number with their respective ration cards and all concerned states and UTs are making continuous efforts to complete the Aadhaar seeding of remaining ration cards and beneficiaries under NFSA.

The department has started the implementation of national/ inter-state portability of NFSA ration card holders under "One Nation One Ration Card" plan as part of a central sector scheme on 'Integrated Management of Public Distribution System' to protect the interest of poor and beneficiaries who migrate from one place to the other, the release said.

"To achieve seamless inter-state portability transactions of a ration card, it is essential to have a centralised repository for maintaining unique ration cards/beneficiaries data of all states and UTs covered under NFSA. Therefore, seeding of Aadhaar numbers becomes critical in establishing a unique record of each eligible ration cardholder or beneficiary under NFSA in the country so that their entitlement is protected," it added. (ANI)