EPIC constraints for ration card verification

Unclear instructions by the dept contributes to the delay

Despite extension of several deadlines for the verification of ration cards, using various procedures, the process has continued at a snail’s pace. 

Almost a year after the launch of the verification procedure, more than 60,000 card holders are yet to submit the necessary details. Several persons not possessing EPIC numbers too has contributed to the delay. In the meantime, the Department of Food and Civil Supplies had extended the last date for verification to March 31.  Unclear instructions by the department, regarding the verification process is among the causes for the delay. Earlier, the department had instructed BPL card holders to send text messages from mobile phones of the card holder, with details of Aadhaar and EPIC numbers of family members. 

The process had resulted in long queues in front of the department offices, following which Department facilitated card holders to submit required details at gram panchayats, Atalji Janasnehi Kendras and other offices.  A large number of verifications were carried out using Aadhaar numbers, which added to the woes of the department, as persons above 21 years of age had to compulsorily submit details of EPIC numbers.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, K Rameshwarappa, Deputy Director of the department said that even though cardholders could send Aadhaar and EPIC numbers, EPIC numbers were being used as a benchmark to verify ration cards.

While about 1,76,000 online applications were received following the launch of the procedure, more than 60,000 card holders are yet to submit details, he said. If EPIC details of dependent persons of a ration card, who are above 21 years of age are not submitted by March 31, either the ration card or the person whose details have not been sent, will be deleted from the ration card. To a question, he said that time frame had been provided for persons who have not submitted EPIC numbers, to submit the same. The process is being taken up from the past one year. Despite shortcomings, the exercise will be completed soon, he added. BookletsA food inspector of the department, under condition of anonymity, said that following the decision to distribute booklets to ration cardholders to submit EPIC and Aadhaar details, the process has not picked pace. SMS verification procedure was not successful, especially in rural areas, he said. “There are some problems. However, awareness has increased among beneficiaries, with several persons completing verification already,” he said. Pointing out that almost all beneficiaries had Aadhaar cards, percentage of persons having EPIC cards were relatively lower.  “While some don’t have, others have to be issued new EPIC numbers, as they have been either relocated or have been married off here. These are minor constraints, which will take some more time to be resolved,” he added.  

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