The Tribune Exclusive

Aadhaar seeding ‘scam’ in Food Dept

CHANDIGARH: A huge “scam” involving Aadhaar seeding of a large number of ration cards with unique identity (UID) numbers of those not entitled to subsidised ration has come to light in the Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department.

editorial@tribune.com

Sushil Manav

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7

A huge “scam” involving Aadhaar seeding of a large number of ration cards with unique identity (UID) numbers of those not entitled to subsidised ration has come to light in the Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department.

Department Director Sanjeev Verma has requested the National Informatics Centre (NIC) to block the e-KYC functionality issued in user IDs of all Assistant Food and Supplies Officers (AFSOs) and Inspectors as their complicity is being suspected.

Sources said the Sirsa DFSC flagged the matter when he stated in a letter dated April 30 that ration had been drawn against a large number of ration cards not seeded with Aadhaar by mentioning wrong UID numbers allegedly in connivance with officials.

The revelation put under the scanner nearly 15.11 lakh beneficiaries who had been added in the past one year. The state government had claimed that after Aadhaar seeding of ration cards, 42 lakh of the 1.37 crore beneficiaries had been eliminated.

The department feared that many of the 15.11 lakh beneficiaries added after May 12 last year could be fake, using the Aadhaar numbers of some other persons not eligible for subsidised ration.

Elaborating the modus operandi, the sources said the state had 26.64 lakh cardholders with 1.37 crore beneficiaries. As on May 12 last, 41.99 lakh beneficiaries were termed as eliminated as they did not get Aadhaar seeding of their ration cards.

However, data of these beneficiaries was not removed from the system, leaving it up to junior officials to include any eliminated ration card in the list by mentioning an Aadhaar number against it.

The sources said the Sirsa DSFC had revealed that certain officials, in connivance with junior programmers and fair price shop owners, had given Aadhaar seeding to a large number of unseeded ration cards by mentioning UID numbers of other persons to siphon off subsidised wheat.

The demand for subsided wheat came down from 6.6 lakh quintal per month to 4.9 lakh quintal on May 12 last. However, the demand had gone up to 5.3 lakh quintal per month after seeding.

Verma said that he had taken the matter very seriously and asked the Sirsa DFSC to provide specific details and lodge an FIR against those involved in the “scam”.

“I have constituted a committee comprising Guru Prasad, Senior Technical Director, NIC, Haryana, and Subhash Sharma, consultant in the department, to look into the matter and suggest whether bulk authentication of ration cards was needed,” he said.

Verma said the government would come down heavily on the guilty if any irregularity was proved, but could not stop Aadhaar seeding to genuine beneficiaries who had been left out due to some reason. He was not certain at this stage whether there was a “scam” or all 15.11 beneficiaries were genuine.

15.11 lakh beneficiaries under scanner

  • On May 12 last year, 41.99 lakh subsidised ration beneficiaries termed as eliminated for not getting Aadhaar seeding of their ration cards
  • Data not removed from the system, leaving it up to junior officials to include eliminated ration cards by mentioning Aadhaar numbers
  • Certain officials, junior programmers, fair price shop owners give Aadhaar seeding to many ration cards with UID numbers of others
  • Demand for subsided wheat, down from 6.6 lakh quintal per month to 4.9 lakh quintal on May 12 last, now 5.3 lakh quintal a month

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