The civil supplies department is all set to introduce point of sale (POS) machines in all 448 fair price shops in the state in order to move towards 100 per cent cashless transactions.
Though Aadhar seeding of almost 98 per cent consumers in the Public Distribution System (PDS) database is completed, remaining two per cent will have to update their Aadhar to allow the shops to be fully digital. The department further clarified that it is not mandatory for consumers to link their Aadhar number with civic supplies department but it is necessary for the purpose of cashless transaction.
“Point of sale (POS) machines linked with biometric Aadhaar-Enabled Payment System (AePS) would be adopted in all the fair price shops from next month onwards,” a civil supplies department official said.
He said that all transactions between the ration dealers and consumers will be cashless by July-end adding, “We plan to achieve this target by July-end. The state has adopted the Aadhaar-enabled system of payment (AEPS) as the most suitable one out of the five cashless mode of payment suggested by the Centre. However, in order to make this system work, the consumers need a bank account apart from Aadhar card.”
There are about 448 government-controlled ration shops in the state, serving over 5.32 lakh household members.
Once the machines are installed, authorities will get exact details of the items sold at ration shops and uncollected quota against each beneficiaries. This initiative is aimed at cutting manual fudging with inventory records and later diverting the subsidised food grains in the open market by the ration shop owner.
It has to be mentioned here that in an effort to cut pilferage in the public distribution system (PDS), the civil supplies department on a pilot basis had set up biometric system-based point of sales (POS) machines last year from June at 42 different fair price shops identified across the state. Considering the success of the pilot project, it was decided that the system will be extended to all FPS.
The department has purchased 50 POS machines from Hyderabad-based Electronics Corporation of India Ltd at a total cost of Rs 12.50 lakh.