Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, Manish Sisodia announced that the Delhi government had decided to stop using point-of-sale (POS) machines that required Aadhaar for the Public Distribution System (PDS), after reports of widespread deprivation and difficulties in procuring rations. He said that these difficulties had emerged because the officers in charge of implementation had not used the POS machines for PDS in the manner that the Cabinet had recommended.
This was announced in a Press Conference, which was also streamed live from his official Facebook page.
Sisodia said that till these problems were resolved, the Cabinet had decided that the PDS rations would be distributed as they used to be before Aadhaar – using ration cards alone.
He also announced that the government would be implementing doorstep delivery of ration grains in the next two to three months. This would make procurement of rations easier, as well as reduce leakages due to the rations being delivered directly to those entitled to receive them.
This is a welcome move. The exclusions caused due to Aadhaar in the PDS system are well documented and have a terrible impact on the quality of life of India’s most vulnerable citizens. We are skeptical that the problem is one of implementation, as the authentication problems with Aadhaar itself have been identified as the root of the exclusions in several places. It is difficult to imagine that they will find an implementation that works. However, it is good that the Delhi government recognized an obvious problem and reversed its own decision rather than follow the prevalent trend of denial resulting in continued misery for the vulnerable.