More than 1 lakh families in Delhi have been denied access to the food grains under the government-run public distribution system - touted as an insulator for rising inflation - because of technical snags for over two years, the Central Information Commission found.
The number includes about 70,000 Below Poverty Line (BPL) families, who are, according to the rules, entitled to 25kg foodgrain every month.
The rest, about 44,000 families, are above poverty line (APL) who get ration at a rate cheaper than the market prices.
"Government policies appear to be the victim of a completely inefficient computer system," information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi said in an order on Monday.
The revelations came in a reply to a Right To Information application, filed by a man, Amlesh Gupta, with Delhi government's department of food and civil supplies, seeking details of the families having ration cards and not getting foodgrain under the government policy.
To Gupta's application, the department informed that rations were stopped to 44,172 APL card holders, as the department failed to enter their names in the database since 2008.
The Delhi government, in 2008, allowed APL families with an annual income of less than Re 1 lakh to get ration cards for buying foodgrain at a fixed rate. Under that, 44,712 applications were accepted for issuing ration cards. However, no ration was distributed as their names were not entered into the database.
"The respondent states that this has happened since the computer systems are not working properly and connectivity is unreliable," Gandhi said, calling the explanation "scandalous".
"It is scandalous that since computer systems and connectivity is not proper the 44,712 families in Delhi which should get rations at a fixed rate are unable to get them," he said.
The department also informed the CIC that about 70,000 BPL cardholders were also not getting ration because of the inefficient computer system.
Gandhi, in his order, had directed the food commissioner to send a compliance report about the action taken on disenfranchisement of over 1 lakh families from the public distribution system.