Hyderabad

‘No access to data of cancelled ration cards’

The Civil Supplies Department claimed to have no access to information of beneficiaries in their ePDS live data system once ration or food security cards of beneficiaries are cancelled, a response to a Right to Information request revealed.

The issue came to light after activist S. Q. Masood sought information about the beneficiaries of public distribution sytem of the Department so as to understand the rationale behind cancellation or deletion of what he said were lakhs of rations.

Apart from maintaining that upon deletion of these cards, the officials do not have access to it under the ePDS live data, the department invoked Section 8 (1) (j) of the Right to Information Act, which exempts the government from sharing third party data.

Hearing

Mr Masood told The Hindu that the response of the Civil Supplies Department was received in March this year. Unsatisfied with the response, he moved the Telangana State Information Commission.

A hearing was scheduled on November 18, in which he argued that certain stipulations, including Rule 23 of the Telangana Food Security Rules, 2017, which dealt with keeping records in public domain, enables providing such information to those who wish to access it. However, officers of the Civil Supplies Department maintained that the information sought pertains to third party information and continued to deny supplying the information.

“I citied Rule 23 of the Telangana Food Security Rules, 2017 in support of providing information. Also, Section 4 (1) (b) (xii) of the RTI Act pertains to voluntary disclosure of information by the government, and includes how subsidies have been given and details of beneficiaries of these programmes. These are important stipulations to ensure transparency.

The department officials said that the data is voluminous and they cannot access the information. We will have to wait for the order of the Hon’ble Information Commission,” he said. Mr Masood added that he was awaiting an order copy.


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Printable version | Jan 26, 2022 2:33:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/no-access-to-data-of-cancelled-ration-cards/article37832342.ece

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