The NHRC has sent notices to the centre and states over the alleged denial of benefits to beneficiaries of various public schemes during the coronavirus pandemic due to "non-completion of biometric authentication," officials said.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), in a statement said, it has taken cognisance of a complaint alleging "denial of benefits to the people during the Covid pandenic, under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojna (PMGKAY) and other schemes under the integral management of public distribution system (IMPDS), due to non-completion of biometric authentication of the beneficiaries".
Accordingly, it has issued notices to the Secretary, Department of Food and Public Distribution, Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, and the chief secretaries, administrators of all the states and Union Territories, it said.
The reports have been sought from them within four weeks on the action taken, regarding the issue of problematic biometric authentication or “end-to-end computerisation of Public Distribution System (PDS) operations”.
The commission has also specifically directed the chief secretary of Mizoram to submit action taken report within one week on the alleged denial of benefits to Chakma villagers of Vasei and Damdep Godown of the Chakma Autonomous District Council (CADC), District-Lawngtlai, despite having Aadhaar cards, ration cards under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojna, it added.
The report should clearly specify the steps taken by the district administration to mitigate the hardships of the villagers, the commission said.
It also directed its DIG (Investigation) to collect facts within three days, regarding the alleged denial of right to food to Chakma villagers, the statement said.
The commission has observed that the computerisation of Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) is aimed at ensuring food security to the people, specially the poor and vulnerable sections, by eliminating shortcomings.