The Never-Ending Saga of The Ration Card Problems


We all own a ration card and we all face problems with our ration card. Read on to know the different types of problems associated with ration card and how to combat the same.

Ration Cards have been an integral part of our society and still are, right now. These cards not only are a means of being a Proof of Address document but also facilitates the not so economically strong section of the public to acquire commodities.
The state governments of the various states of our country India take care of the processing and handling of the various goods and they sell it at subsidized prices to the eligible candidates. Such examples of commodities are as follows:


  • Rice

  • Wheat

  • Oil

  • Sugar

  • Kerosene etc


The Central government allocates the commodities according to the demand quotient and the state government sells the same accordingly. With the rise of digital media, the process is being conducted even more smoothly now.
However, with every venture in the plan, comes a great risk of frauds and troubles. This is no way as near to being clean or non-corrupt. The very fabric of Ration Card literally ran on corruption and bribery up until some time ago.

Ration Card Issues:



If we start talking about the issues or problems related to ration cards, be it is from the administration point of view or from the customer, it would be a longer rant than all the Indian Television daily soaps' script combined.
If we broadly categorize the three main parts of the Ration Card Universe, we will have:

  • Administration

  • Middlemen

  • Customers


The Administration: is constituted by the people from the respective State Governments who take care of the procedures such as handling and transportation of the goods, commodities inflow, transactions, on the whole, eligibility of the customers just like TNPDS, A Tamil Nadu Based Food Security department.
The Middlemen: in this whole process constitute the third-party vendors and the ration shop owners who are given the authority to sell these government subsidized goods to the general Ration Card holders and the dealers who take care of the transportation part from the headquarters to the respective ration shops.
Thirdly, we have the customers: who possess a Ration Card along with their name and purchase their required commodities at subsidized prices from their respective ration cards.
As is the flow of the hierarchy, everything should be happening in order and there should have been no issue whatsoever with the proceedings.
However, as it turns out, almost all levels of this chain is flawed to the core and is never given space or time to recover itself, since it might hamper the ill-doings of several people at ones and may not satisfy their hunger of greed.

Customers:


Speaking of the customers, recently there has been an outcry at Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh by the local people. They were strictly against the ordeal of linking their Aadhaar numbers to their respective ration cards.
This might seem a pretty normal outrage but the fact was that quite a few senior citizens were not able to link their Aadhaar numbers with their respective Ration Cards. Their biometric data was not clear enough to be read by the machines hence disabling them from having authority over their eligible commodity range.
This is where systems need to come in and help out the distressed. Instead of rejecting someone outright, they can override the algorithm and let the certain individuals have their share of commodities.
Apart from that, if they are focusing so much on enabling someone's eligibility through digital data saved on particular servers, they might as well increase their investment and time on cybersecurity and protect the data of customers and commodities alike, without letting someone infiltrate easily.
The only other reason that might lead the general public to protest this digitization is the inability to cheat and usurp a lot of goods than they are eligible for. People usually gather the extra supplies and sell it on the black market for that extra, illegitimate money.
As was the case, in certain mass movements like this, it is pretty much a political motive from a particular party to get under the skin of their opposition, baiting the general public, as always.

Middlemen:


The Middlemen, as mentioned above, are the people who take care of the whole process of selling and managing the commodities from transportation, handling etc. These constitute dealers, ration shop owners etc.
The dealers often make wrong use of the situation and usually smuggle a little bit of the goods to sell it in the Black Market on their own. Over time, this adds up to such monumental amounts that there is a huge loss to the government to neutralize the effects of this madness.
Similarly, with Ration Shop owners, they too used to smuggle items or sell goods to people in wrong quantities, making that extra illegitimate profit all by themselves.

Administration:


The Administration comes at last here, but not in reality. In fact, they are the most scandalous lot of the whole ordeal. We have certain ministers and ministries who eat up the funds or the commodities even if you know what I mean.
The distribution of goods from the Centre to State itself is at times altered and external factors are involved in the process. A lot of smuggling used to happen in the meantime in all these distributions etc.

Involvement of Digitization:


Since the whole process has been digitized in the name of Ration card digitization, there has been a stark change in the whole setup. All of a sudden, the fake and bogus ration cards got deleted. These cards were run on dead or ineligible people.
Also, the commodities' tabs make smuggling of those really difficult since all the information is being synced and matched at each level of the process. It won't go away completely but the major chunk of it has vanished thankfully.
The major difference right now is the transfer of the money from the subsidy difference directly to the Bank Account of the Ration Cardholder. That enables to get rid of the risky middlemen and all who easily used to launder all the extra money that would never reach the light of the day of the deserved.
Frustrations of the frauds aside, this step would be even more welcome if the government focuses more on ensuring a safe and secure environment of our personal data that is stored on the servers, used for authentication purposes.
There is no point in having all your money in a safe and not putting a lock on it.
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