Expressing concern over poor linkage of Aadhaar cards with ration cards in Bihar, Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Friday asked the state government to complete the process by December-January in order to check corruption in the public distribution system.
The Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, also asked the Nitish Kumar government to install Point of Sale (POS) machines in all the PDS centres in the state by December.
“There is no doubt that we (Bihar) are lagging behind other states vis-a-vis linking of Aadhaar to ration cards and installation of POS machines. But Deepak ji (Bihar government Food and Consumer Protection Department Principal Secretary) has given assurance that both work would be completed at the earliest. The efforts would help in checking corruption in PDS,” Paswan said.
Paswan was talking to mediapersons after reviewing FCI Bihar region with the state government officials here. The minister was accompanied by his ministry’s Joint Secretary Prashant Trivedi, Bihar’s Food and Consumer Protection Department Principal Secretary Deepak Prasad, FCI, Bihar GM Lokendra Singh and others.
“The principal secretary must set a target of linking 70 to 80 per cent of Aadhaar to ration cards by December besides installing POS machines at the PDS centres within the same time limit. If we are able to link Aadhaar to ration cards, at least 25 per cent of ration cards would be detected as fake ones,” he told reporters.
Out of 1.54 crore ration cards in Bihar, only 20,000 cards have been linked with Aadhaar so far which constitutes 0.13 per cent, Paswan said, adding that the national percentage of Aadhaar linkage with ration cards stands at 66.
There are states like Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and union territory Chandigarh, which have achieved cent per cent linking of Aadhaar to ration cards, he added.
Stating that all the 5.35 lakh PDS shops across the country would have POS facility by the end of next year, the minister said that Bihar does not have a single PDS shop equipped with POS machine. The state has 51,000 PDS shops.
Bihar’s Food and Consumer Protection Department’s Principal Secretary, however, exuded confidence that the state government would be able to achieve cent per cent linking of Aadhaar to ration cards by the end of January as the process for both enrollment under Aadhaar and distribution of Aadhaar cards have been expedited for which a meeting with UIDAI Director General was held last month for the purpose.
“In Bihar, there is 66 per cent enrollment under Aadhaar while 40 per cent of people have been given Aaadhar cards. We need to expedite both enrollment under Aadhaar and distribution of cards so that we can link Aadhaar number with ration cards. We need a photo copy of Aadhaar card for linking in order to avoid any discrepancies,” Prasad told PTI.
Talking about enhancing the storage capacity of godowns in Bihar, the Union minister said that FCI has set a target of creating a storage capacity of 7.12 lakh tonnes and out of this, godowns with capacity of 1.35 lakh tonnes of capacity have been completed while 1.82 lakh tonnes are under construction.
Paswan also said that there are eight districts in the state where the FCI does not have any godown.
Bihar government has its godowns with a storage capacity of 11.28 lakh tonnes of grains.
Paswan said that though the state government has lifted 100 per cent foodgrains in the month of September but despite this, people do complain to him that they have not got foodgrains for past 3-4 months.