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Updated: October 15, 2012 10:44 IST

This ‘speaking’ machine can curb misuse of ration

Anil Kumar Sastry
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The machine operates on biometric system, thumb impression of the ration card holder and another member of his/ her family would be collected.
The Hindu The machine operates on biometric system, thumb impression of the ration card holder and another member of his/ her family would be collected.

Designed to help even the illiterate to take home properly weighed commodity, it sends information on the quantity of the product sold to the central database too

This weighing machine not only tells the customer the weight of the chosen grocery, but also the amount to be paid by him/ her to the shopkeeper.

Designed to help even the illiterate to take home properly weighed commodity, it sends information on the quantity of the product sold to the central database too.

While 103 such machines are at work at different public distribution system (PDS) shops, including the ones owned by the government, all the 21,000 odd PDS across Karnataka will have similar machines in about six months. Each machine costs the government about Rs. 46,000 and the total expenditure will be around Rs. 97 crore.

The Food and Civil Supplies Department, which is implementing the project as part of the digitisation of the PDS, is hopeful of saving a lot more than the investment on the machines through this initiative.

Besides keeping the customer informed, the machine, equipped with a GSM SIM card, also sends message to the central server of the department the quantity of commodity sold immediately after the bill is printed.

Food and Civil Supplies Department Secretary B.A. Harish Gowda told The Hindu that the machine operates on biometric system. Thumb impression of the ration card holder and another member of his/ her family would be collected.

Only either of the two could make a purchase at the PDS shop as the bill is generated after authenticating the biometric details.

Unlike smart cards, which can be pledged or could be handed over to another to get the benefits, biometric system prevents the misuse of ration card. Also, only genuine below poverty line card holder approaches the PDS shop as the well-to-do persons, who hitherto used to send their representatives/ agents to buy the products, hesitate to personally visit the shop, Mr. Gowda said.

The machine works on Intel 600 MHz tunnel creek processing unit and has a 512 MB memory unit. More than 4 GB data can be stored in this machine that has provision to connect GSM data card. A biometric finger print reader, two 8” LCD screens, two speakers and 2” thermal printer are some of the parts of this machine.

The machine has a 400 mm by 400 mm platform.

With all-in-one integrated design, the machine requires only one power cable for the whole system. The battery and SIM card compartments have separate lock and key system to prevent misuse by the shop operator.

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