The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has taken cognizance of a complaint alleging denial of benefits to people during the Covid pandemic under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojna (PMGKAY) and other schemes under the integral management of public distribution system (IMPDS) due to non-completion of biometric authentication of beneficiaries.
Accordingly, it has issued notices to the Secretary, Department of Food and Public Distribution, Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs , Food and Public Distribution, and the Chief Secretaries/ Administrators of all the States/UTs.
The reports have been sought from them within four weeks on the action taken regarding the issue of problematic biometric authentication or “End-to-end Computerization of Public Distribution System (PDS) Operations”.
The Commission has also specifically directed the Chief Secretary , Govt. of Mizoram to submit action taken report within one week on the alleged denial of benefits to the Chakma Villagers of Vasei and Damdep Godown of the Chakma Autonomous District Council (CADC), District-Lawngtlai, Mizoram despite the having the Aadhaar Cards/Ration Cards under the PMGKAY.
The report should clearly specify the steps taken by the District Administration to mitigate the hardship of Chakma Villagers of Vasei and Damdep Godown of the Chakma Autonomous District Council (CADC). The Commission has also directed its DIG (Investigation) to collect facts within three days, regarding the alleged denial of right to food to the Chakma villagers.
The Commission has observed that the Computerization of Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) is aimed at ensuring food security to the people, specially the poor and vulnerable sections, by eliminating the shortcomings, such as leakages and diversion of foodgrains, inclusion and exclusion errors in identification of beneficiaries, etc but the lack of availability of internet /mobile connectivity to end users, who are residing at far flung/remote areas is also to be looked into. What is of paramount interest in these grave pandemic times, is to ensure that the beneficiaries of PMGKAY Scheme are not deprived of their entitlements.