Pilot project on iris-based authentication in ration shops begins in Tiruchi

December 06, 2023 06:11 pm | Updated 06:11 pm IST - TIRUCHI

A beneficiary being authenticated using iris scanner in a fair price shop at Duraisamypuram in Tiruchi.

A beneficiary being authenticated using iris scanner in a fair price shop at Duraisamypuram in Tiruchi. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The Department of Co-operation, Food, and Consumer Protection, has deployed iris-based scanners for Aadhaar authentication at 70 fair price shops in Tiruchi district on a pilot basis to ensure the seamless supply of commodities to consumers who face challenges with biometric verification.

According to official data, there are 8,49,986 smart ration card holders in Tiruchi district as of October 2023. Under the National Food Security Act, various commodities, including rice, sugar, wheat, and pulses, are being distributed to 26,54,293 beneficiaries in the district through 1,267 public distribution system outlets.

Out of nearly 8.5 lakh smart ration card holders, 70,393 beneficiaries have been availing benefits under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY), which aims to provide commodities at a subsidised rate to reduce hunger among people living below poverty line.

To avoid gaps in supplying essential foodgrains to the beneficiaries in a time-bound manner, the Department of Co-operation, Food, and Consumer Protection has come up with a pilot project of deploying iris-based scanners for Aadhaar authentication in public distribution outlets.

Official sources say a total of 70 fair price shops have been identified in Tiruchi East, Tiruchi West, and Manapparai taluks in the district to implement the pilot project and are provided with iris-scanner devices.

The Department had imparted a special training camp for workers of fair price shops to handle the equipment. The handheld equipment connected to the biometric cum printing device will scan the iris of the beneficiary for Aadhaar authentication.

These scanners are available in addition to fingerprint-based authentication systems at the ration shops. The scanners will be used only when beneficiaries, particularly senior citizens, face challenges in Aadhaar verification through fingerprint authentication, said official sources and added that after the pilot study, the State government may decide to extend the facility to all the fair price shops in the district.

The Department has also started giving printed bills for the commodities distributed to the beneficiaries besides sending text messages through their registered mobile numbers, official sources added.

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