PDS biometric validation pushing Ahmedabad’s slumdwellers to starvation: HDRC survey

CV News/ Saturday, March 09, 2019
Days are not far off when Gujarat’s business capital Ahmedabad would be added to the list of places, led by Jharkhand’s rural areas, where failure of aadhaar-based biometric authentication led to 25 of 45 starvation deaths across India since 2017.
Ahmedabad-based NGO Human Development and Research Centre (HDRC) survey has revealed that Kesarben Ramabhai Thakore, 85, a poor women living in Sheherkotda slum area of Ahmedabad, is unable to get her ration from the public distribution system (PDS) because her fingers fail in biometric authentication.
An HDRC note claims, Kesarben, a single woman, “often goes to bed hungry if she is unable any food, for which she must go out begging daily”, adding, there were in all 1,795 families (24%) out of 7,512 surveyed who do not get ration because of “technical glitches”, which include fingerprint validation.
An HDRC media interaction with tens of slumdwellers revealed that a majority of them did not know that the biometric authentication is not compulsory for getting ration under the National Food Security Act, 2013, which aims to provide subsidized foodgrains to approximately two thirds of India’s 1.2 billion people – both above and below poverty line.
The survey reveals that of the 7,512 families surveyed, 5,116 families had above poverty line (APL) ration cards and are refused ration. Then, there were 142 families which complained that Rs 5 to Rs 10 were charged from them for biometric authentication, even if they are not given ration.