Mumbai: Maharashtra Cabinet today approved the proposal to issue Aadhar-linked ration cards in a bid to curb fake beneficiaries and bring in transparency in the public distribution system (PDS). Under this Rs 173.72 crore-worth two-phased programme, Aadhar-linked ration cards will be distributed and all PDS outlets across the state will be connected with a mobile terminal technology-enabled biometric network. “We keep receiving complaints about irregularities and malpractices in PDS outlets and even fake or duplicate ration cards are being used by ineligible people to avail undue benefits of the state government under various schemes,” Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis told reporters here.
“To put an end to all these malpractices and bring in transparency in the system, we have decided to make the entire PDS computerised. Through this, the government will be able to gauge the exact number of beneficiaries of various schemes of the state and weed out the fake beneficiaries so that genuine persons get the benefit,” he added.
With the commencement of this initiative, Maharashtra will be the third state in the country, after Punjab and Gujarat, where the Centre-initiated scheme of Aadhar-linked ration cards is being implemented to strictly monitor the benefits under the National Food Security Act, 2013. In the first phase, all the 2.32 crore ration card holders in the state will get new ration cards, bearing the Aadhar card, bank account and mobile numbers in a bar code, photograph of the senior-most woman in the household and the Aadhar details of other family members.
In the second phase, all the 52,232 PDS shops in the state will be equipped with a mobile terminal technology-enabled biometric network to recognise each customer’s details before distributing the food grains. According to the Chief Minister, the first phase will cost the government Rs 69.73 crore, while the second phase will cost Rs 103.99 crore.