Ration distribution picks up pace after server glitches

Ration being distributed at a centre in Majlis Park.   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

After a bumpy start to the roll-out of the ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ scheme (ONORC) in Delhi, fair price shops (FPS) have distributed 87.8% of their target for July in the last 12 days, according to government data.

Owners of fair price shops said that initially there were glitches in the online system, which the e-PoS (electronic point of sale) machines use, leading to queues at shops, but the system is working better now.

Ration distribution using e-PoS machine at Jahangirpuri.

Ration distribution using e-PoS machine at Jahangirpuri.   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma


Distribution of ration started only from July 20, as the Delhi government decided to implement the ONORC scheme a day before it.

“Last week, the system was not working for a few hours for three days at a stretch leading to long queues of people waiting to get ration. However, for the past two-three days we have not faced any major problem,” said Satvir Singh, 61, who runs a shop at Matia Mahal.

Mr. Singh showed a WhatsApp group, “Circle 21 Matia Mahal’, in which government officials were also present, and other FPS owners had also posted photos of their e-PoS machines, which could not retrieve data of people, after entering their ration card number.

Initially, there were problems with the government server and many a time, shop owners were unable to connect the e-PoS to the online system.

No alternative way

Details of a beneficiary need to be entered online before distributing ration under the ONORC scheme, and if the system is not working, then there is no other alternative to give ration.

“When a number is entered, it has to be checked with the local server and an UIDAI [Unique Identification Authority of India] server. If the person is from outside Delhi, then the other State’s server is also involved. So, if there is problem in any of the servers, the process won’t be complete,” a Delhi government official said.

“Initially there were issues, but we have fixed most of the issues and the distribution is going very well now,” the official added.

Krishan Kumar, who also runs a FPS, also said that the issues with the system are less now.

Govt. lacks preparedness

Anjali Bhardwaj of the Delhi Rozi Roti Adhikar Abhiyaan said that the government should have learnt from its past mistakes and should have been prepared this time.

In 2018, the government had started distributing ration through e-PoS, but had to stop and go back to the manual system due to problems with the online process.

“With the pandemic, PDS [public distribution system] has become the lifeline for people. When there are disruptions in the distribution, many won’t be able to feed their children,” Ms. Bhardwaj said.

She said that the government should have an alternative method to distribute ration if the online system is not working or biometrics are not being detected by the machine.

“There is an uneven burden on the vulnerable people when it comes to the e-PoS system. People who do manual labour and old people are the ones, whose biometrics do not match with the system in most cases. And they are the most vulnerable too,” she added.

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Printable version | Sep 23, 2021 6:25:48 PM |

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