Food Ministry clarifies media reports on starvation deaths

ANI | Updated: Nov 18, 2017 19:07 IST

New Delhi [India], Nov 18 (ANI): The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has today issued a clarification on the recent media reports about starvation deaths owing to alleged denial of subsidised food-grains.

The Government said that it is fully aware of challenges in the transition to the PoS based Aadhaar authentication system in the Public Distribution System.

"We have issued clear-cut instructions to ensure that while Aadhaar-based authentication needs to be promoted, no eligible beneficiary under NFSA should be deprived of the entitled quantity of foodgrains for want of Aadhaar number or failure of biometric authentication," the Ministry said in an official release.

Various media outlets had earlier reported that the subsidised food grains were denied under National Food Security Act to eligible ration card holders for not giving Aadhaar number or for non-authentication at PoS etc.

Referring to the recent case reported from Bareilly District of Uttar Pradesh, the Centre said that the report from State Government indicates that the deceased was an AAY ration card holder and had received food-grains till the month of October 2017 regularly.

"The State Government report also indicates that the food-grains for the month of August and September 2017 had been taken by her husband without Aadhaar based authentication and in the month of October 2017 by herself after Aadhaar authentication," the Ministry clarified.

The seeding of Aadhaar number is aimed at biometric identification of the beneficiaries for the rightful targeting of the food grains provided under NFSA.

"It may be however noted that even in the month of October 2017, 47 % of PoS transactions are reported to be without Aadhaar-based authentication which clearly indicates that State Governments are enforcing the guidelines regarding not denying benefits under NFSA on account of absence of Aadhaar based identification," the official statement said.

The Central Government also clarified that it is in constant dialogues with the States/UTs to address the issues pertaining to smooth and seamless transition to the new system of Aadhaar based authentication in PDS.(ANI)