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Biometric authentication tender launched for food benefits program in Indian state

Biometric authentication tender launched for food benefits program in Indian state

A tender process is underway to select a biometric solution provider for a supplementary food distribution program dubbed “poshahar” in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, Newsroom Modisha reports.

According to state government officials, the objective is to check how food supplies are managed at certain distribution centers by making sure that officials do not collect food rations meant for beneficiaries. It will be a system-integrator solution to be delivered on a Build-Operate-Transfer agreement.

Poshahar is a government scheme which seeks to provide supplementary food services to children of six years and below, pregnant and lactating women, highly malnourished children, and needy adolescent girls of between 14-18 years of age.

The project, whose tender process is being prepared by the Uttar Pradesh Development System Corporation Limited (UPDESCO), will involve the installation of iris biometrics-based Point-of-Service machines at distribution centers. The contractor is also required to provide software applications, field and technical personnel, SIM cards and maintenance services.

A purchase committee to oversee the tender process is headed by UPDESCO, which has been playing a significant role in preparing the bid document.

In India’s south, the State of Karnataka has also begun distributing cash in place of food rations under the Direct Benefit Transfers (DBTs) scheme using the Aadhaar biometric digital ID for authentication.

According to an expert analysis first published by India Cable, the DBT, which is new in states like Karnataka, shows promise of a novelty with the potential to positively change the way public distribution services are accessed in India.

The authors of the analysis note that while there are bound to be challenges in the early stages of the DBT rollout, it is important for the Karnataka government to ensure that ration cards are linked to Aadhaar-enabled bank accounts to facilitate identification of beneficiaries.

India is also working on Family IDs to improve the efficiency of the country’s DBT systems.

Meanwhile, in Kolkata, a recent call from state authorities to urges all ration card users to link the credential to their Aadhaar digital ID, per Millenium Post.

State officials say the linkage will start this month and district magistrates have been called upon to fast-track the process. A door-to-door strategy has been recommended.

The move comes after it was noticed that many ration beneficiaries are yet to link their ration cards with their Aadhaar, which makes it difficult for their personal details to be verified.

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