Bhubaneswar: The government has decided not to provide subsidised rice through the Public Distribution System (PDS) to consumers who have not linked their Aadhaar with ration cards.
Ration card holders have been advised to link it by this month-end. Otherwise, they will be not be given ration under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) and the State Food Security Scheme (SFSS).
In a bid to remove ineligible and dead beneficiaries from the PDS, the Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Department has made Aadhaar mandatory for all PDS beneficiaries.
The government had asked Collectors to complete Aadhaar linking exercise by August-end. According to sources, 34.52 lakh beneficiaries have not linked their Aadhaar to ration cards.
The government has warned beneficiaries that they would not be eligible to receive Food Security Act benefits like subsidised rice if they do not link their biometric ID cards with ration cards.
FS&CW Minister Ranendra Pratap Swain said people having Aadhaar will not lose PDS rice. But those who don’t have Aadhaar cards should apply for it at the earliest and link it with their ration cards, he said.
The Minister, however, assured that, “The day the Aadhaar card is punched, immediately the eligible beneficiaries will be entitled to benefits.”
Sources said around a lakh people have been buying PDS rice using multiple ration cards, and the number could go up when Aadhaar-ration card linkage process is completed.
The government had earlier set July 31 as the deadline for linking Aadhaar with ration cards, but the date has been extended till August 31.
While 3.23 crore people are covered under NFSA, 24.98 lakh people have been enrolled under SFSS.