Neither Aadhaar nor ration card guarantees foodgrain for these slumdwellers -Arpita R

-The Times of India

BENGALURU: For most residents of Bhangi colony near KR Market, pressing on the Aadhaar-enabled point-of-sale (PoS) machine at the nearby ration store is a crucial exercise that is riddled with unpredictability. For, the machine could deny their share of subsidized food, simply by not recognizing their thumb impression.

Despite most of them having successfully seeded their Aadhaar numbers with ration cards, many are struggling to get foodgrains from the fair price shop. The promise of food and civil supplies minister U T Khader notwithstanding, some haven't got ration cards months after applying for updated ones. They claim their lives were much simpler when they had to flash a single card as proof of their eligibility.

Chanamma, 29, gets only 20 kg of ration a month to feed her family of seven. Since the Aadhaar numbers of two members didn't get seeded properly, the entire family was asked to obtain a fresh one with all the beneficiaries' names listed and seeded. She rued it is common for shop owners to send people away with considerably lesser ration than they were eligible for.

Kamalakka, 33, with a family of four, said: "They are abusive and say they themselves have received less, so everyone would be getting proportionately lesser. We don't want to upset them so we just take what we get," she said, adding that she had been getting her rations for many months.

While the Supreme Court had earlier said Aadhaar was not must for accessing welfare schemes, it has since provided no clarity on the same and extended the date for mandatory linking of Aadhaar till March 31, 2018. On the ground, nothing has changed as store owners demand biometric verification to dole out ration.

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The Times of India, 9 November, 2017,

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