: Around 20 lakh to 30 lakh “bogus” and “ghost” ration cards, accounting for 15 per cent, are likely to get knocked off the government records soon.
This has come to light as the Civil Supplies Department prepares itself for reforms in public distribution system (PDS) with the launch of a highly-automated and transparent project. On Friday, a Chennai-based firm - Omne Agate Systems –was selected for the implementation of the project.
While bogus entries pertain to duplicate or multiple entries of the same individuals, ghost entries refer to non-existent families or persons. .
Though sources in the government give varying figures for the number of bogus cards, an official in the department puts it conservatively at 10 to 15 per cent. “The new project will address this issue and seek to overcome the problem in the initial phase itself,” the official says. Unlike in the past, the Civil Supplies department, hereafter, will not conduct its conventional method of door-to-door verification. Instead, it will use the database of Aadhaar/National Population Register which includes bio-metric data of the people for the issue of ration cards.
Nearly three-fourths of the eligible population have been covered under the NPR exercise, most of whom have been assigned Aadhaar numbers. Another significant change is that the people will be given “smart cards,” that will capture biometric data. A helpdesk has also been proposed to address problems and concerns of the people, the official says. K. Vijayendran, a young resident of Arumbakkam and whose family is heavily dependent on the PDS, suggests that the use of mobile applications and interface with social media be made integral features of the modernisation project.