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Government orders investigations into Aadhaar-linked PDS scam

BHOPAL: Around three dozen fair price shops run under the public distribution system (PDS) are under the scanner for alleged misuse of Aadhaar-linked ration cards in Bhopal. Going by preliminary investigation reports, instances of one Aadhaar card identity was used at point of sale (PoS) machines to benefit multiple beneficiaries.
Reports said, 37 PDS shops in Bhopal are under investigation and district administration is set to determine whether these ration shop operators and others benefitted from the transactions. As per estimates, there are an estimated 2.65 lakh BPL families in the city that get ration from the PDS network. From April 1, the facility was discontinued for those without Aadhaar card.

A PoS machine uses biometric finger print recognition and beneficiaries get the ration. The flaw was detected during random sampling and inspection during random check of the portal.
Sources said that in many instances, one finger print scan in the system allowed for distribution to over 4,000 families. Indications are that these errors and a system hack has been on-going since March 2016.
District food controller Jyoti Shah Narvariya nullified the possibility of the interface being hacked. “Aadhaar-based PoS link up was improperly influenced. However, ration was sourced to rightful beneficiaries,” she said.
Commissioner food, Vivek Porwal has hinted at recovery from ration shop operators, in case the ration was used illegally. There are an estimated 45,000 BPL families within municipal limits that are without Aadhaar-linked ration cards.

A full-investigation report would be submitted to the government in 15 days.
Earlier in 2015, district administration was criticized when it could not trace about one lakh registered ration card holders in the city.
The suspected fraud came to light as district administration plans to launch proposed fair price shop (FPS) portability project wherein ration card holders would be free to buy their ration from any FPS within city limits.

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