Alternatives to Aadhaar-based Biometrics in the Public Distribution System
States across the country are taking steps towards providing digital identities to beneficiaries of their public distribution systems. In doing so, the use of
Aadhaar-based biometrics seems to be the preferred choice of method.
However, several other methods exist for the same and have been adopted by different states at different points in time. States currently embarking on the journey of providing digital identities to their beneficiaries might benefit from evaluating all available alternatives before adopting a suitable method.
The PDS in India has witnessed several technology-enabled performance improvement initiatives over the last decade. Typically driven by the state governments, these measures are aimed at reducing the leakage of subsidised grains into the open market and ensuring better grain availability to genuine
Examples of these measures include the installation of global positioning system devices on trucks carrying foodgrains in Tamil Nadu, intimation of the grain arrival status to beneficiaries through SMS in Chhattisgarh and automated online allocation of grains to the FPS in Gujarat (Ramaswami
and Murugkar 2015).
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