October 26, 2016
Chennai: Allaying the fears of people, the state food department today clarified that there was no time limit to link Aadhaar number with ration cards. The clarification came amid reports that after November 1 essentials would not be given at fair price shops to those card holders who failed to link their Aadhaar number with ration cards.
A top official of the food department confirmed, “It is mandatory to link ration cards with Aadhaar number. However, there is no time limit for this. Since Aadhaar number is necessary for issuing smart cards, people have to register.”
Tamil Nadu has 2.04 crore ration cards with 7.67 crore membership, but 4.52 crore members have linked their Aadhaar details with their ration cards, and 1.58 crore members have provided their mobile phone numbers.
Public Distribution System officials (PDS) also noted that it is not enough for only the head of the family to link Aadhaar details to the ration card. The department has urged all members with and mentioned in ration cards to register the relevant information as soon as possible in order to help them hasten the process of issuing smart cards. PDS has also advertised in newspapers and put up roadside banners to create awareness on the importance of smart cards.
According to officials, the process to shift to smart cards in place of the present ration cards from next year could in fact be delayed due to members not linking details. Anticipating the introduction of smart cards, point of sales (PoS) devices have been provided at PDS shops, and ration card-holder information, including Aadhaar card details, mobile phone number and the number of LPG cylinders, have to be updated on the PoS devices. It is expected that linking Aadhaar number with ration card details would go a long way in curbing irregularities in the PDS and pilferage.
However, some reports, quoting officials, say that it is not mandatory for people to undergo the process.