HYDERABAD: Come October, all the fair price shops in the state will be equipped with electronic point of sale (ePoS) units to enable digital transactions and curb leakages in Public Distribution System (PDS). With this, card holders could collect their ration from any fair price shops in the state and even swipe debit cards for payments.So far, the department has installed such devices in nearly 6,000 fair price shops in Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation limits, Mahabubnagar, Siddipet, Vikarabad, Medchal and Ranga Reddy districts.
By end of this month, around 2,000 more fair price shops in erstwhile districts of Karimnagar and Warangal will be equipped with ePoS, which would also work as mini-banks, micro-ATMs and will be connected to weighing machines in the shops, said CV Anand, commissioner, State Civil Supplies.
He said that in March last year, the department installed 1,545 such units in all the fair price shops in GHMC limits on a pilot basis and there are 17,200 fair price shops in the state.
Right from the inception of the ePoS devices, the department has managed to prevent diversion of essential commodities worth nearly `800 crore to the black market, said Anand adding that they have saved close to `200 crore in GHMC limits alone.“The main objective is to fully computerise all fair price shops by installing such ePoS devices to curb pilferage of food grains in the PDS,” said a senior officer.
He said that there are around 85 lakh card holders in the state, catering to nearly 2.75 crore below poverty line (BPL) families.
Portability of Food Security Cards
Meanwhile, the commissioner said that on June 1 this year, they started portability system in GHMC limits, where a cardholder can collect his monthly stock from any fair price shop in the state. Under the ePoS system, the biometric identity of a beneficiary along with the Food Security Card is linked to the Aadhaar card. Thus, a genuine beneficiary or his family members can avail ration benefits. If the dealer tries to divert anything, it will be shown online, the official said. For instance, card holders from Medak district can collect his monthly ration from any fair price shop in Hyderabad or Rangareddy districts.