ALAPPUZHA: If things go as planned, the 14,276 rations shops in the state will soon become micro-ATM counters. As a pilot project, two shops, one each in Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam, will dispense cash to consumers by next month.
The civil supplies department has also initiated steps to distribute chip-based ration cards.The Kerala State Civil Supplies Department has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with a private bank based in Mumbai for converting rations shops into micro-ATMs.
“We made electronic point of sale (ePoS) machines mandatory at ration shops to avoid malpractices. Now, GPS-enabled vehicles carry food grains from godowns to ration shops. The latest is the micro-ATMs and they would be functional on a pilot basis by next month. We expect it would be implemented in a majority of the shops in the state by 2020,” said P Thilothaman, Food and Civil Supplies Minister.
Dr Narasimhugari Thej Lohit Reddy, Director of Civil Supplies, said the department signed the MoU with Mumbai-based Fino Investment Bank to introduce micro-ATMs in the state. “The Aadhaar-linked payment system will be introduced in ration shops. The customer can deposit cash and pay bills of electricity, water and other services in ration shops,” he said.
“The government’s aim is to promote cashless transactions through the system. At the time of buying ration items, there is no need to hand over cash. The amount will be deducted from the Aadhaar-linked bank account,” he said.
In rural areas. Pension, subsidy and other benefits to the people are distributed through bank accounts. Now, elderly and differently-abled people are forced to approach ATM counters in towns to withdraw these payments. To avoid such a situation, the government plans to set up micro-ATMs in all villages. The conversion of shops into ATM counters will increase the revenue of ration shop owners. They will get commission for transactions done at their shops, officials said.
A huge step
ePoS machines to be enabled as ATMs
Beneficiaries can swipe debit cards to pay
Maximum Rs 10,000 can be withdrawn a day