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More Trouble For People With Disabilities? Fingerprint Identification Made Mandatory For Availing PDS

The proposed system would be in place in a few months, a senior official of the Civil Supplies Department told The Hindu.

After a few months, people with disabilities will not be able to avail amenities under the Public Distribution System (PDS) because the Civil Supplies Department would install fingerprint recorders at all fair price shops, a report published in The Hindu said.

This is surprising especially after many “starvation deaths” have been reported across the country and in most of these cases, people with disabilities were not able to go to the ration shops to record their fingerprints.

Under the new system, the beneficiaries enumerated in the family card should visit the ration shop concerned and get his or her fingerprint recorded.

The proposed system would be in place in a few months, a senior official of the Civil Supplies Department told The Hindu. Apparently, all the 34,772 shops will have the devices.

Bids to award contract for fingerprinting machines have been floated, said the official. The contract will be awarded by August.

Many deaths in the recent past

In January, a 32-year-old tribal woman in the eastern Pakur district, died from starvation because her family was denied food grains under PDS for months as her sister’s fingerprint did not match on the e-pos (electronic point of sale) device used by the local PDS dealer, The New Indian Express reported.

Six months ago, Shakina Ashfaq from Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh died allegedly due to starvation after remaining hungry for five days. She could not receive the monthly quota of food grains as she was not present for fingerprint authentication because she was paralysed, said an NDTV report.

Last year in October, a 62-year-old man from Jharkhand was reported to have died of starvation after his family was allegedly denied rations by a PDS dealer for two months for the same reason. His daughter’s fingerprint did not match the one stored in the PDS fingerprint reader, The New Indian Express report said.

Another report says that many leprosy patients (fingers were affected) were denied rations in Haryana because they could not give their fingerprints for PDS.

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