The Right to Food Campaign, Jharkhand, writes to Ajay Bhushan Pandey, CEO, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), requesting for legal action against the Chief Secretary, Government of Jharkhand:
As you would know from media reports, large numbers of ration cards were recently cancelled in Jharkhand because they had not been linked with Aadhaar. This happened in pursuance of orders issued on 27 March 2017 by the Chief Secretary of the Jharkhand Government.
Many of the cancelled cards belonged to people who have legal entitlements to food rations under the National Food Security Act, and who had been unable to get their electronic ration card linked to Aadhaar (if they had one) for no fault of their own. One example is Koili Devi of Karimati village in Simdega district, head of a destitute Dalit family, whose ration card was cancelled on 22 July 2017 according to Jharkhand’s Food Minister Shri Saryu Rai. Her daughter died of hunger on 28 September 2017.
You have repeatedly said and written that if anyone is deprived of food rations for lack of Aaadhaar, that would be a violation of Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act and responsible officers should be punished. This is a case in point, as you have argued yourself. What you rarely mention, however, is that Section 47 of the Act prevents anyone other than the UIDAI (i.e., you) from initiating legal action against a violation of Section 7.
We therefore request to initiate legal action against the Chief Secretary of the Jharkhand Government for violating Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act.
Press statement of the Information and Public Relations Department, Jharkhand government, quoting the chief secretary as saying that ration cards devoid of Aadhaar number will cease to exist from 5th April, PDS outlets will work as mini bank:
Reviewing the PDS Department, Chief Secretary Mrs. Raj Bala Verma said that the govt. is committed for paddy procurement. She said that paddy has been produced in ample quantity and farmers should be motivated for paddy procurement. A door to door campaign should be run with the help of panchayat sevak and krishak mitra so that farmers can reach to the purchase center.
She said that the list of all the registered farmers should be made available to panchayat sevaks and krishak mitras so that they can contact the concerned farmers and inspire them for paddy procurement. The krishak mitras will be given promotion amount for procuring 50 quintals of paddy. 1.2 lakh metric ton paddy has been procured and 65 thousand farmers have been sent SMS out of 90 thousand registered farmers. She said that mill owners should be contacted and grains should be lifted from the packed godowns of the concerned districts.
She directed to work in the direction of providing the tribal 35 kilos rice at their homes. 35 kg packets should be made by sakhi mandals for all PDSs at block level so that they can be distributed through Panchayat sevaks. She directed to make the LDM and BSO responsible for it. Panchayat sevaks will be given Rs. 20 per bag promotion amount from the dept.
She said that all the ration cards which have not been linked with Aadhar number will become null and void on 5th April. Aadhar based ration card will be considered for food grains by the PDS outlets. Nearly 3 lakh ration cards have been declared invalid. Kerosene will be distributed through DBT from 7th March.
The CS said that PDS outlets will work as mini banks. Electricity bills, rail tickets, cash deposits and cash withdrawals can be done at PDS outlets. For this, the PDS owners are being trained. She said that they should be trained through DEGS.
PDS secretary Mr Vinay Kumar Choubey and other officers were present in the meeting.