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Maharashtra fair-price shops to introduce biometric identification checks to curb bootlegging


The state government of Maharashtra, India is set to implement the Aadhaar ID card biometric identification system at fair-price shops in an effort to prevent the bootlegging of goods, according to a report by The Asian Age.

The biometric identification plan will be rolled out across the state over the next six months, which is estimated to cost about Rs 200 crore (USD $31M) said Girish Bapat, minister for civil supplies, food and consumer affairs.

“We are strictly against black marketing and the outflow of food grain and kerosene,” said Bapat. “The Maharashtra government is spending Rs 11,000 crore (USD $1.71B) on distributing food grains and kerosene to below-poverty-line (BPL) people.”

Despite these efforts, food grain and kerosene valued at about Rs 2,500-3,000 crore (USD $390M – $46.8M) never physically make it to the people in need as a result of black marketers, said Bapat.

To combat at this, Bapat said the state government will introduce the Aadhaar-card-linked biometric identification system at fair-price shops.

Maharashtra has approximately 22.5 million yellow and saffron ration card holders, which are broken up three groups.

Those families with a yearly income below Rs 15,000 (USD $234.00) are provided with yellow ration cards, which allow them to receive the maximum benefits under the public distribution system (PDS).

Families with an income above Rs 15,000 but below Rs 1 lakh (USD $1,560.00) are provided with saffron ration cards, entitling them to the second level of benefits.

Finally, those families with income above Rs 1 lakh per annum are provided with white ration cards. These card holders are not eligible for subsidized items and the card is mostly used as an identification document.

Previously reported, India’s Minister of State for Planning discussed the Indian government’s ongoing analysis of its biometric identity database.

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