Apart from failure to authenticate beneficiaries, the devices could not connect to the server due to which the staff at the fair price shops were not able to confirm the allotment to each beneficiary. When the teething issues reached the top officials, they discussed the matter with Food and Civil Supplies Minister R Kamaraj and the decision was taken to suspend the process.
“Biometric authentication process has been witnessing several glitches. Machines installed with biometric readers could not confirm the identity of the beneficiaries, and there were confusions in several areas following which there were complaints. So the process has been temporarily put on hold,” said official sources from the Secretariat.
When contacted, a top official from the Civil Supplies Department said on condition of anonymity that the previous process of verifying beneficiaries through OTP sent to their mobile number would be continued till the issues in biometric authentication are ironed out. “We have ensured that no beneficiary is affected due to the technical glitches, and essential food items are supplied without any issue,” the official added.
After the Centre announced ‘one nation one ration card’ scheme, the Tamil Nadu government had gone ahead with the scheme despite opposition from political parties, and installed biometric authentication devices at all the ration shops across the State.
On October 1, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami launched the scheme in 32 districts, adding that it would be implemented in the districts from Friday. However, several glitches were reported in biometric authentication in the last 15 days, which earned the beneficiaries’ ire.