In a bid to curb pilferage of foodgrains in the public distribution system (PDS), the Civil Supplies Department will be installing biometric system-based point of sales (POS) machines, on a pilot basis, from third week of June at 43 fair price shops, identified across the state.
There are around 450 government-controlled ration shops in the state, serving over 5.32 lakh households.
Around 43 fair price shops chosen, under the pilot project, for installing the POS machines will cover around 3,000 beneficiaries.
The department has purchased 50 POS machines from Hyderabad-based Electronics Corporation of India Ltd at a cost of Rs 12.50 lakh.
The department in association with Electronics Corporation of India Ltd will conduct a day-long training programme, on Wednesday, on machine operation for officials and the selected fair price shop owners.
The person approaching a PDS shop for purchasing ration has to give his 12 digit ration card number, and then register a thumb impression on the machine. It then authenticates the biometric details of the ration cardholder before generating the bill. The sim card-based machine also sends information to the central server so that there is no scope for pilferage. Moment a person gets ration at the shop, the data is immediately sent to the server and uploaded on the website. Thus the department gets real time details of ration sold in each fair price shop.
The data needed for the POS machines is being uploaded, and the process of feeding Aadhaar inputs is already done.
Through biometric authentication linked with Aadhaar (unique identity number), card holders can collect commodities which are weighed digitally.
“Once the machines are installed, authorities will get exact details of the items sold at ration shops and uncollected quota against each beneficiary. This initiative is aimed at curbing manual fudging with inventory records and later diverting the subsidised foodgrains in the open market by the ration shop owners,”said Civil Supplies director Vikas Gaunekar.
“There will be no scope for diversion of foodgrains by shop owners,” he said adding, based on the results and the experience of three months, the state government will install POS machines at other FPS by year-end.
“If everything goes according to the plan, then our next step would be to start portability so that a ration card holder can buy ration from any fair price shop in a particular constituency,” he added.