Biometric systems at rationing shops can save Rs 3,500 crore

FPJ BureauUpdated: Friday, May 31, 2019, 05:35 PM IST
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Mumbai : Computerised biometric systems at the rationing shops can save a burden of up to Rs 3,500 crore on the state exchequer, officials at the civil supplies department have said.

The civil supplies department has started implementation of the union government’s scheme of end to end computerisation of targeted public distribution system. Under the scheme biometric system-based point of sales (POS) machines are to be installed at all 52,000 fair price ration shops across the state to cut pilferage in the public distribution system (PDS).

Under the scheme, the system has linked ration cards with the AADHAR number. Biometric machine at the shop matches hand or thumb impression or the iris of the customers with AADHAR database and ration is distributed only after identification is validated. The entry of purchase of ration reflects at the system installed at the Talika and Zilla level offices in real time.

A pilot project in the state for this scheme, wherein the union government is planning to set-up the POS machines in over 3 lakh shops across the country, was recently completed. The pilot study that was conducted in Ahemadnagar, Jalgaon Pune (Shirur) and Sangli districts has shown that around 25 per cent beneficiaries don’t purchase ration from these shops.

If this is a representative proportion, then the state would be able to save almost Rs 3000 crore by implementing the shop automation scheme, an official from the department told FPJ.

The civil supplies department of the state has reduced the supplies of the districts, where pilot study was conducted, to 75 per cent. The state spends around Rs 14000 crore on the PDS every year. A 25 percent cut in it would mean at least Rs 3500 crore saved, the official explained.

The state has over 2.40 crore ration card holders, of which 49,55,700 have been successfully linked to AADHAR numbers. The scheme would be implemented in shops where the AADHAR linking has been completed. NIC has developed all the necessary softwares and they would be paid from the savings achieved after implementation of the scheme, the official added.

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