The government wants you to link anything and everything it can to your Aadhaar in the name of transparency and ensuring that benefits reaches the right persons.
But instead of making the system transparent, Aadhaar has often been accused of coming in the way of people getting essential services.
Public Distribution System, aka, ration is one of the most affected due to the mandatory Aadhaar linkage.
Like in many other cases were subsidies are involved, the government in the name of ensuring that the benefits reached the real beneficiaries made linking of Ration cards with Aadhaar mandatory to get the supply.
But, in a number of cases which have surfaced since, the denial of what was the lifeline of many turned out to be a costly affair as people who could not afford to buy non-subsidised grains died of starvation.
Now a comprehensive study on Aadhar has stated that a large number of people do not get food ration under PDS due to factors related to the biometric identification system.
The “State of Aadhaar Report 2017-18” by IDinsight, a global development analytics firm working across India points out that nearly 2 million people in three surveyed states, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal have been denied rations for not having Aadhaar.
Overall monthly exclusion from PDS in Rajasthan is 9.9 per cent, whereas it is 1.1 per cent in Andhra Pradesh.
Of this, Aadhaar-related factors contribute 2.2 per cent and 0.8 per cent respectively, showed the results of the survey conducted between November 2017 and February 2018.
“PDS exclusion due to failure of local administration, though small, should be taken very seriously by the concerned agencies,” Ajay Bhushan Pandey, CEO of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) which is mandated to issue Aadhaar, said in a statement.
“They should ensure that not a single beneficiary is denied. The Aadhaar Act and Government instructions provide for alternate means of identification for genuine beneficiaries who encounter problems in authentication,” he added.
Despite this, the report found that a majority of PDS recipients prefer Aadhaar-based PDS delivery in both states, as they perceive biometric authentication prevents identity fraud.
“The goal of the State of Aadhaar Report is to catalyse the Aadhaar debate and policymaking to be more data-driven,” said Ronald Abraham, Partner, IDinsight.