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SC sought Centre’s response in “ration cards cancellation” case

Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

SC sought Centre’s response in “ration cards cancellation” case:


Context:

The Supreme Court has asked the Centre to respond to a plea related to the cancellation of over three-crore ration cards for not linking them to Aadhaar.

  • Also, the SC has sought a report on the implementation of the grievances redressal mechanism. It is contained in Sections 14, 15 and 16 of the National Food Security Act, 2013.

What’s the issue?

A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court which said that such cancellations had led to starvation deaths across the country.

  • Right to food, which the ration card symbolised, cannot be curbed or cancelled because of lack of Aadhaar, says the petitioner.

Concerns:

  • The Court said the issue is concerning because the government has cancelled cards of even tribal people and the poor, solely because they could not be biometrically linked with Aadhaar.
  • The Union of India casually gives an explanation that these cancelled cards were bogus. The real reason is that the technological system based on iris identification, thumb prints, non-possession of Aadhaar, non-functioning of the Internet in rural and remote areas, etc., led to largescale cancellation of ration cards, without notice to the family concerned.

What are Ration Cards?

Ration card is an official document issued by state governments in India to households. The Household should be eligible to purchase subsidized food grain under the National Food Security Act (NFSA). They also serve as a common form of identification for many Indians.

  • Under the NFSA, all state governments have to identify eligible households under the Public Distribution System and provide them with ration cards.

India’s ranking in global indices:

  • The Hunger Watch Report of the Right to Food Campaign in 2020 characterised the hunger situation in India as “grave”.
  • India ranks 94 out of 107 countries in the Global Hunger Index 2020 and is in the ‘Serious Hunger Category’.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What are ration cards?
  2. Features.
  3. Beneficiaries identification.
  4. Benefits.

Mains Link:

Discuss the concerns associated with the cancellation of over three-crore ration cards for not linking them to Aadhaar.

Sources: the Hindu.