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UIDAI plans to use `Aadhaar` number to improve PDS

Last Updated: Wednesday, July 7, 2010 - 18:58

New Delhi: UIDAI has come out with a working
paper on the role of `Aadhaar` (unique identification) number
in Public Distribution System, which envisions to change the
way the present system works.

It outlines how the 12-digit `Aadhaar` number can be
leveraged to make the PDS more efficient and transparent.

The authority said it recognises that implementing the
Right to Food is a priority today for the Indian government
and the functioning of the PDS- the mainstay of India`s food
programs- is critical to the implementation of Right to Food
in India.

It said the government and the Department of Food and
Public Distribution have pinpointed critical aspects of the
PDS that need reform and for the program to function more

The paper said `Aadhar` would address the critical
aspects by exclusion of errors, diversions and leakages,
managing foodgrain storage and ensuring timely distribution,
effective accountability and monitoring and enabling community
monitoring, mechanisms for grievance redressal and ensuring
food security.

"Aadhaar enables remote, online biometric and demographic
authentication of identity. Such Aadhaar-based authentication
can take place in real time, and can even be performed through
a mobile phone. Using Aadhaar for real-time identity
verification at the Fair Price Shops (FPS), when beneficiaries
collect their entitlements, will help governments verify that
the benefits reached the person they were meant for," it said.

It added, one challenge would be to ensure that such
authentication is carried out at the FPS and that the
government can ensure that Aadhaar-based authentication is
implemented by the FPS owner by linking future FPS allocations
to authenticated off-take by beneficiaries.

The Authority said implementing such authentication
while leveraging the portability of `Aadhaar` can bring
significant benefits.

"Today, beneficiaries in a particular block or district
can collect their rations only from their allotted ration
shop. However, since the Aadhaar would be recognised across
ration outlets, the number would help residents collect
entitlements from any FPS within the state.

"Governments would then replenish FPS stocks based
on authentication-linked off-take, which would give them
real-time information on how many beneficiaries collected
their entitlements from which outlet," the paper said.

It said these two aspects of the Aadhaar-enabled system
”linking grain allocation to authenticated off-take and choice
of FPS for the beneficiary” would enable a significant shift
from the present approach, where foodgrain allocations within
the PDS are static, supply-led and divorced from beneficiary
demand and choice.


First Published: Wednesday, July 7, 2010 - 18:58
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