ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Food Security and COVID-19: Why India’s Public Distribution System Requires an Overhaul

In light of the ongoing pandemic and India's crumbling economy, what are the factors that we should pay heed to if we're to mitigate the food insecurity that India's migrant population faces?

Locking Down on Rights: Surveillance and Administrative Ambiguity in the Pandemic

As the third chapter of the COVID-19 lockdown in India unfolds, the guidelines provided by the central and state governments remain ambiguous, unclear, and vague. The authors argue that such ambiguity could be strategic. Combined with instances such as the voluntary-but-mandatory use of technological solutions to contain the pandemic, this could effectively put in place a surveillance state that holds in scant regard the civil rights of the citizens it seeks to govern.

A Conundrum of Efficiency And Inclusion: Aadhaar and Fair Price Shops

Instead of looking at Aadhaar as a technological “fix” to the problems of welfare delivery systems, we need to focus on a more nuanced approach to administrative reform. The authors investigate use of Aadhaar in Fair Price Shops in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

The Namesake: Human Costs of Digital Identities

This article presents a case study from Jharkhand documenting a particularly distressing case of two women of the same name who have a bank account in the same branch.

Aadhaar Failures: A Tragedy of Errors

Several instances of practical difficulties that people across India have faced in accessing welfare schemes show the magnitude of the problems inherent in the Aadhaar project.

Right to Privacy and RTI Act

Against the backdrop of Justice K S Puttaswamy (Retd) and Anr v Union of India and Ors in which the nine judges declared unanimously that the state cannot abuse its power to search, tap phones and knock the doors at midnight without any legally prescribed reasonable procedure and justification, this article argues that the state has to put machinery and authority in place to secure the right to privacy.

Accessing the Right to Food in Delhi

The renewed Public Distribution System (PDS) under the “rights-based” National Food Security Act, 2013 has increased access to foodgrains in Delhi. However, the Aadhaar-enabled PDS has created new barriers and glitches undermining the promise of efficient, error-free, and transparent service-delivery.

Role of ‘Fintech’ in Financial Inclusion and New Business Models

The convergence of finance and technology to provide financial services by non-financial institutions, popularly known as “fintech,” has come to dominate the financial landscape. Taking stock of this development, its impact and implications for new products, processes and services, including for financial inclusion are examined. The Jan Dhan–Aadhaar–mobile phones trinity provides fertile ground for fintech to permeate to the “last mile.” Notwithstanding its manifold benefits, there is a need to exercise caution in areas such as privacy and ownership of data. In a fast-paced world of rapidly evolving technology and related financial services, regulators have new paradigms to grapple with and therefore, need to be proactive so as to not stifle the growth of this nascent sector.

Well done ABBA?

The Aadhaar-based Biometric Authentication system was introduced in all Public Distribution System outlets in Hyderabad between February and March 2016. A survey of 80 households (284 persons) in November finds that despite the introduction of technology-intensive authentication and payment systems, a significant number of those vulnerable and dependent on PDS for food grains are failing to realise their right to food. It is alarming that these sophisticated systems fail even in locations where connectivity and technical know-how are relatively advanced.

Questioning the “Phenomenal Success” of Aadhaar-linked Direct Benefit Transfers for LPG

The Aadhaar-linked Direct Benefit Transfer scheme for reducing leakages in Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) subsidies has been widely advertised as a phenomenal success and has been used to promote Aadhaar and DBT in other spheres by prominent government officials. However, analyses of various studies and data shows that the government’s tall claims of savings cannot be confirmed and leaves much to be questioned.

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