The Delhi government on Tuesday withdrew its decision to use point-of-sale machines at fair price shops under the Public Distribution System. Beneficiaries will no longer need their Aadhaar biometrics to buy subsidised ration under the scheme, and the earlier system using ration cards has been restored “for some time”, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said.
The Cabinet planned to finalise this decision in a meeting at the Delhi Secretariat on Tuesday, which was not held because of protests there. The meeting was conducted at Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence instead.
The earlier decision to use point-of-sale machines at fair price shops was made to stop theft of ration, he said. However, officers of the PDS department implemented the decision differently from what the Cabinet had proposed, because of which neither the theft stopped, nor were beneficiaries able to get the the subsidised ration they deserved, Sisodia said.
On January 1, Aadhaar card-based electronic point-of-sale devices were set up in 2,254 fair price shops in the city. This meant that beneficiaries could avail of the scheme at any of these fair price shops. Food and Civil Supplies Minister Imran Hussain had then said that the system would provide a robust mechanism for verification of beneficiaries through Aadhaar, and could help monitor transactions online.
However, due to discrepancies in Aadhaar data, 2.5 lakh families in Delhi were not getting ration since January, said Aam Aadmi Party member Ankit Lal. Media reports pointed out examples of faulty point-of-sale machines, problems with fingerprint recognition and connectivity issues.