Updated: June 12, 2021 8:59:04 am
At Seemapuri, the only locality in Delhi where ration disbursal takes place after e-PoS (electronic point of sale) biometric authentication, over 94 per cent beneficiaries collected their monthly quota in May, while 159 migrant families from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar availed foodgrains under the One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC) policy.
However, the e-PoS system has been suspended in the rest of the capital since April 2018 after the Delhi government cited irregularities such as misuse of OTPs. Food rights activists had also flagged instances of exclusion due to technical glitches and inability of the elderly and other vulnerable sections in getting their credentials authenticated. The Centre had advised against suspension of e-PoS, saying ration should not be denied in such cases but disbursed after physical verification of identity.
In April this year, the Delhi government implemented e-PoS and ONORC on a pilot basis at the Seemapuri circle. According to official records seen by The Indian Express, the circle has 30,090 ration card holders and 42 ration shops.
In May, 94.25 per cent card holders successfully collected their monthly quota of ration after biometric verification through e-PoS. As many as 2,823 card holders also availed benefit of the inter-state portability, under which a beneficiary can collect ration from any fair price shop as per his convenience. The segment on ONORC shows that 159 transactions took place under this category in May. As per the break-up of the transactions, 94 migrant card holders from Bihar, 60 from Uttar Pradesh, two from Haryana, and one from Rajasthan were among the beneficiaries.
The Centre has been writing to the Delhi government to resume the e-PoS system. It has also pointed out on several occasions, including as recently as June 8, that due to non-resumption of the mechanism, the vast number of migrants in Delhi are unable to make use of the ONORC policy that will enable them to collect PDS foodgrains using ration cards registered in other states.
“Considering the prevailing situation of Covid-19 pandemic and looking at the difficulty faced by migrants, facility of interstate portability (ONORC) will ensure delivery of ration to a large number of migrant workers in Delhi. This will help them to avail their entitled foodgrains on subsidised rate and also improve their ease of living,” the Centre wrote to Delhi Chief Secretary Vijay Dev on June 8.
“The Delhi government’s drive to distribute ration among non-PDS beneficiaries has proved highly inadequate. But not all these people turning up at the distribution centres are non-PDS card holders. Most of them have cards registered in other states. The implementation of ONORC will help them live with dignity as they will be able to collect ration normally. And Delhi government will have no additional burden on it either,” said a senior official from the Delhi government’s food department.
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