November 15, 2017

Why ABBA must go: on Aadhaar

ABBA - Aadhaar Based Biometric Authentication

.... The ABBA requires that family members be enrolled for Aadhaar and correct seeding. At the time of purchase, the ABBA requires power supply, a functional PoS machine, mobile and Internet connectivity, State and Central Identities Data Repository (CIDR) servers to be ‘up’, and for fingerprint authentication to be successful.

Ruplal Marandi’s family passed the first two hurdles, enrolment and seeding, but was tripped at the last stage by the ABBA. For no fault of his own, the Marandi family was excluded from the PDS. His daughter told journalists that he had died of hunger as the family could not collect rations because of a biometric mismatch at the PDS shop.

Also read: Need internet to buy PDS rations? Go climb a tree


What most people don’t realise is that the ABBA has no role in reducing corruption. Quantity fraud is the practice of cheating on quantities sold. Neither seeding nor the ABBA can stop quantity fraud. In a survey in Jharkhand, dealers continue to swindle people by cutting up to a kg of their grain entitlement despite successful ABBA authentication.


each month, people are being forced to cross five meaningless hurdles in the form of electricity, functional PoS, connectivity, servers and fingerprint authentication in order to have access to their ration. Failing any one hurdle even once causes anxiety in subsequent months. Think of the ATM running out of cash, post-demonetisation, just when it was your turn. The resultant anxiety defeats the very purpose of such forms of social support. Failure in consecutive months leads to people giving up entirely. They stop trying. States such as Rajasthan were planning to treat such households as dead or non-existent.


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