ALAPPUZHA: How about going to the ration shop in your neighbourhood with debit card, purchase kerosene or sugar, and come back withdrawing cash from the machine there for the day’s expenses.
It could soon become a reality as the Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation has begun steps to convert nearly 14,349 ration shops into micro ATMs.
Four banks (one nationalised and three private) have expressed interest to join the mega project, which will bring banking into the Aadhaar-enabled Public Distribution System. To begin with, electronic point of sale (ePOS) machines will be installed at all ration shops. Food and Civil Supplies Minister P Thilothaman said the department has already begun steps.
Micro ATMs at ration shops: Cashless transaction is the key
Food and Civil Supplies Minister P Thilothaman said: “The project’s aim is to support cashless transactions in every nook and corner of the state. We expect the project can be implemented this year itself,” the minister said. Civil Supplies Director Narasimhugari Thej Lohit Reddy said: “The intention is to promote cashless transaction. The bill amount will be deducted from the Aadhaar-linked bank account of the consumer. The government has proposed to allow withdrawal of cash through the ePOS machines at the ration shops for which more discussion is needed.”
The Central Government had proposed to convert rations shops across the country into micro ATMs during nationwide introduction of ePOS machines in 2015. The ePOS machines should offer consumers in the rural areas a major help as bank network is less there. Once compatible to function as micro ATMs, the machines, other than helping withdraw cash, will enable people to make deposits, transfer fund, check balance and collect mini-statements.
Now the ePOS machines function with the cardholders’ thump impression and allot ration goods after Aadhaar biometric authentication. After the conversion of ePOS into micro ATMs, cardholders can avail themselves of services also by swiping the debit card.
The Central Government has also suggested to convert around 5 lakh ration shops in the country into micro ATMs. It will be a major step towards cashless transaction in the country. The banks in the country jointly own around 2 lakh ATMs and after the introduction of the new system, the number of ATMs will increase to more than 7 lakh. The KSCSC has already begun steps to make ration shops modern and give them a uniform look. The authorities feel the move will increase transactions as well.