Just a few days after a 11-year-old girl reportedly died of starvation in Jharkhand after a local PDS (Public Distribution System) shop denied her family food since their ration card was not linked to Aadhaar, the Centre has yet again repeated that rations cannot be denied on this ground.
The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) dismissed earlier reports that the deceased Santoshi Kumari's family did not have an Aadhaar card. The UIDAI said that the biometric identity card had been issued to them and the local administration was to blame for denying the family rations.
Jharkhand Food and Supply Department Minister Saryu Rai stated that he had instructed, in accordance with a Supreme Court order, that rations should be given to people despite not holding an Aadhaar card.
Govt bucking up after Kumari's death
Kumari's death has not only made the Centre take note of the mistaken interpretation of the rules under the Aadhaar linking system, but also made them realise the problem of capturing the biometrics of senior citizens.
In fact, it has directed people registering citizens for Aadhaar cards to keep a separate register for the elderly and other citizens whose fingerprints cannot be taken. The Centre is also working towards tacking the problem of the inability of aged people to register for Aadhaar.
BPL community should receive facilities
The Union government has also asked the state governments to ensure that poor people avail facilities meant for BPL (below poverty line) and other categories, despite not having an Aadhaar card or it not being linked to their ration cards or other documents.
Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that his department in coordination with the Union food ministry as given written instructions to all the states to ensure that the facilities allotted to the poor are safeguarded .
"The absence of Aadhaar card shall not lead to denial of subsidised rations from PDS shops to the poor and other eligible people in the BPL category provided they can show alternative identity documents like voter ID card or something else," Prasad was quoted as saying by the Times of India.