THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Ration shops in the district are set to go hi-tech in a few months’ time. If things pan out, all ration shops in Thiruvananthapuram district will be equipped with electronic point of sale (e-POS) machines by the end of March.
With this, the public distribution mechanism in the district will move into the Aadhaar-enabled PDS (AePDS) mode. As part of enforcing the National Food Security Act (NFSA), the e-POS machines are expected to bring in transparency in the distribution of the food grain quota and check the corruption that has been rampant in PDS.
Under the new system, ration goods will be distributed to beneficiaries after validation of biometric identification. If the ration card holder is bedridden, she can depute a family member to collect the ration quota. The Civil Supplies Department had piloted the e-POS machine project in 60 ration shops in Karunagappally taluk of Kollam district earlier this month, Food and Civil Supplies Minister P Thilothaman’s office said on Tuesday. The e-POS operations in these shops are currently being studied by the department.
The plan is to extend the service to other ration shops in Kollam district and the 13 remaining districts, including Thiruvananthapuram, starting February 1. According to Civil Supplies sources, the department has placed orders for nearly 15,000 e-POS machines to cover all 14,355 ration shops in the state plus reserve requirements.
Under NFSA, the state government had revised ration cards by scrapping the older APL/BPL categorisation and replacing it with the priority and non-priority (general) category cards. The Civil Supplies Department had also introduced ‘door-step delivery’ of food grains, as mandated under NFSA.
This condition requires the state government to transport ration food grain from the Food Corporation of India (FCI) depots to the retail ration shops. Earlier, this job was done by the authorised wholesale ration dealers. The government had also undertaken a massive exercise to weed out unauthorised priority cards under NFSA.
15,000 e-POS machines have been ordered by the Civil Supplies Department
14,355 ration shops in the state will be covered