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Tribals in India demand withdrawal of biometric ration cards


Citing irregularities, members of an indigenous group in Rayagada town in India have demanded the withdrawal of biometric rational cards.

According to a report in the Times of India, tribals say they have difficulty getting subsidized rice under the World Food Programme‘s system as biometric cards only carry the fingerprints of the card holder, making it impossible for other family members to collect food grains. Instead, these tribals say the cards should contain the photograph and fingerprint of a family member of the beneficiary for convenience.

Under the current WFP system, those enrolled in the program are given biometric smart cards that they show when picking up subsidized food. Information from the card is logged, and the recipient gets a finger scanned to verify identity.

Arguing that the biometric card system has helped checking bogus cards and theft, Raygada collector Sashi Bhusan Padhi told the Times of India that “steps may be taken to include the name and fingerprints of two more family members of the beneficiary so that in the absence of the original card holder the other persons whose data has been given in the biometric card could collect the items.”

As The Hindu reports, a pilot project to introduce biometric ration cards was started in the Rayagada district in 2010. According to the district administration, until now 1,40,000 biometric cards have been distributed for the purpose.

The organizing administration said that beneficiaries who faced problems collecting their subsidized rice will be able to collect rice again on December 21, 22 and 23.

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