WHILE THE state government is making all efforts to link the ration card with Aadhaar cards, the document, however, will no longer be accepted as a proof of identity and address along with passport application. The central government has issued a notice to this effect, which the Regional Passport Office said, would come into effect from April 1.
The External Affairs Ministry has directed all passport branches to comply with the orders. Earlier, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution had on December 20 last year discontinued accepting ration card as proof of identity and residence. The ministry had come across cases where the details on the card had been tampered with.
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According to the passport officials, the ration card cannot verify the authenticity of an applicant, as people can make changes to it easily. “When they migrate, they alter the details to be able to misuse the card for various purposes,” said officials from the passport office.
All passports offices have to now make the necessary changes on their portals, run a ticker informing the public that ration card is no longer a valid proof of identity or address.
Besides the ration card, the other valid proof of address are water bill, Aadhaar card, income-tax assessment order, proof of gas connection, registered rent agreement, photo passbook of active bank account, electricity bill, and the passport copy of spouse.
Regional passport officer Atul Gotsurve said,” Presently, along with the ration card, we were asking for another address proof that made it almost negligent. However, with the present order from the government, we will make it mandatory. “It is a good move and we would be implementing it from April 1,’’ said Gotsurve.
Meanwhile, Pune district is all set to complete its target of linking ration cards with Aadhaar cards. The district which has 16 lakh ration cards has nearly 52 lakh beneficiaries. The department has covered 65 per cent of them but with another 18 lakh beneficiaries to be covered, the administration is set to carry out the exercise in three categories-the total number of Aadhaar cards collected for the exercise and yet to be seeded with ration cards, the number of Aadhaar cards yet to be collected and the number of beneficiaries who are not alive or have shifted.
The entire effort to link ration cards with Aadhaar cards is to weed out bogus beneficiaries. Earlier, the state was given time till December 31 last year to digitise date on food procurement system, godowns, ration cards, supply chain and open transparency portals inorder to seed Aadhaar card data. The new deadline now is March 2016. The Centre is aiming big on Aadhaar-based biometric authentication which it plans to roll out at all fair price shops across the country by year-end.