Bogus ration cards created with biometrics

As many as 150 bogus/fictitious ration cards issued under the biometrics system have been unearthed in Chikkaballapur district, leaving the department of Food and Civil Supplies flummoxed.

The cards were created by none other than the department’s deputy director in collusion with three fair price shop owners and the biometric franchisee.

Even as a debate concerning the security of introducing biometrics into social welfare schemes ensues, the department is now faced with the reality that the system, which it had vouched for, is anything but foolproof.

Addressing reporters in Bangalore on Wednesday, Food and Civil Supplies minister D N Jeevaraj said that the “shocking” revelation came about when department officials stumbled upon a ration card showing a couple as 70 years old with children aged six and eight. Inquiry proved that it was a fictitious card created by the authorities, and many more cards had been introduced into the system.

He said that the department has booked a cheating case against the deputy director, owners of the fair price shops and the biometric franchisee. “We never imagined that the biometric system could be manipulated,” said Jeevaraj.

Apparently, the official, in connivance with the franchisee and card holders had collected fingerprints instead of thumb impressions to generate cards for 150 fictitious families. The minister said that there was possibility of such a manipulation elsewhere in the State too and that all cards would be verified. Cheating cases will be booked against all those found guilty.

He also said that the department was contemplating handing over the management of fair price shops to Stree Shakti groups to put an end to the growing corruption and streamline the system.

“There are 21,129 fair price shops in the State. Women groups have proven themselves to be more efficient. Also, they are pro-people,” the minister said.

He said that Stree Shakti groups had the necessary infrastructure and personnel, and that they would be entrusted with the responsibility of running the shops on commission basis.

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