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Biometric hardware failures prompt Delhi government to change rations collection rules

Biometric hardware failures prompt Delhi government to change rations collection rules

The department of food and civil supplies of Delhi in India has taken steps to ensure that families can receive subsidized food rations even when unable to complete biometric authentication at digital points of sale due to failures of e-POS devices.

Hindustan Times writes that the move follows reports from the department’s field officers that some of the ration card holders in the last month did not get ration grains because they failed to successfully complete their fingerprint or iris biometric authentication at the digital points of sale. It also comes after the federal government told States to put in place steps to address the growing authentication concerns raised by beneficiaries.

The order specifies the category of people who are eligible to nominate substitutes to collect their rations. They include families where all members are aged above 65 or below 16 and are not in a position to visit the shops themselves; families where all members are suffering from leprosy, are differently-abled, bedridden, or affected by other diseases and impairments; as well as families whose members face biometric authentication fails despite correct Aadhaar seeding, according to Hindustan Times.

However anyone designated to collect for another must be registered at the same point of sale as the person who designated them.

“The order has been issued to ensure that no PDS (public distribution system) beneficiary drops out of the safety net due to biometric failures, especially since ration shops in Delhi have implemented the e-POS (electronic point of sale) system under which a beneficiary can collect food grains after thumb or iris authentication. The latest order will be very helpful for Delhi because the city is seeing one of the highest usages of portability of ration cards under the Centre’s one nation, one ration card (ONORC) programme,” the outlet quoted an unnamed department official as telling them.

The safety net program, which covers over 700 million people, was put in place by the Indian government in 2019 and is part of efforts aimed at facilitating access to services by citizens.

In Delhi, the program only started on July 20, and since then, nearly 30,000 transactions have been processed within the framework of the scheme.

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