Baijal refers matter of e-PoS device transactions to ACB

Agency asked to probe incidents of fraudulent transactions

April 17, 2018 01:38 am | Updated 01:38 am IST - New Delhi

Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal on Monday referred to the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) an investigation of alleged discrepancies and fraudulent transactions noticed in e-PoS devices.

He also concurred with the Delhi government’s decision to suspend the use of such devices,

In a statement, Raj Niwas said that Mr. Baijal’s decision was based on a proposal by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Food & Supplies Minister Imran Hussain, asking for suspending use of e-PoS devices.

Biometric verification

“Since the Chief Minister and the Minister had made serious allegations of fraudulent withdrawal of rations by misuse of OTP authentication in the e-PoS system, the L-G has referred the entire matter to the ACB for expeditious investigation,” the statement said.

The introduction of e-PoS devices is part of a national-level reform in the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) to enable end-to-end tracking of food grains. Its objective is to ensure that only genuine cardholders, or their family members, whose names are mentioned in the ration card, can buy the subsidised commodities.

When the ration is taken, the e-PoS device captures the buyer’s biometrics, which is verified online with the Aadhaar database.

The device helps record all Fair Price Shops (FPS) transactions electronically, which enables real-time accounting of opening stock, daily sales and closing stock, which in turn facilitates monitoring and detection of fraudulent transactions.

The statement said that Mr. Baijal was “surprised” to receive a proposal from the elected government to suspend the operation of e-PoS devices, which “they themselves were very keen to introduce just a few months ago”, in view of its crucial role in preventing diversion of food grains.

The L-G noted that “this is why he had requested the Minister on March 20 to reconsider the decision” to suspend the operation of e-PoS devices and take action to remove the names of ineligible beneficiaries by following due process.

“This would have met the goal of ensuring that while no eligible beneficiary is denied food grains, no ineligible beneficiary is allowed to avail the benefits. But since the proposal has been received again, the L-G concurred with it,” the statement said.

The Lieutenant-Governor stated that “we should not end up discarding the very technology that enabled detection of fraudulent transactions in the first place”.

Doorstep delivery

Mr. Baijal also took the opportunity to address the proposal of doorstep delivery of services, which he reiterated, “was never rejected”. The statement said that the L-G “hoped that sufficient safeguards are being put in place by the elected government” for the proposed scheme, since the same e-PoS machines are proposed to be used for biometric authentication of the beneficiaries.

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