Today's Paper

Hi-tech foodgrains rationing system introduced for below poverty line families

S. Rajendran



It will help prevent black-marketing

Bogus ration cards will be eliminated



Bangalore: The State Government has introduced a hi-tech rationing system which will ensure the timely supply of foodgrains to people living below the poverty line and simultaneously prevent black-marketing and circulation of bogus ration cards.

What has prompted the Yeddyurappa Government to launch this novel measure is the high level of black-marketing in foodgrains (estimated around 25 per cent). The Government spends Rs. 900 crore annually towards foodgrains subsidy.

Governments in the State over the past three decades have found it difficult to check the rampant black-marketing in foodgrains and circulation of bogus ration cards, although it is evident that politicians have been behind the large-scale issue of below poverty line cards in exchange for votes.

And all this has been at the cost of the poor and the needy for whom the rationing system has been designed. The new system, which has been introduced on a pilot basis in select ration shops of Bangalore, Mysore, Dakshina Kannada and Chikmagalur districts, is expected to substantially reduce the subsidy expenditure.

In all, 26 companies, which submitted an Expression of Interest to participate in the scheme to check malpractices, have been allotted ration shops to showcase their technology.

The participating companies have provided each ration shop with a hand-held machine which has the details of the consumers in their jurisdiction and the foodgrains for which they are eligible, apart from the quantum of grain allotted to the shop concerned.

Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, who reviewed the progress of the implementation of the scheme with Minister for Food and Civil Supplies H. Halappa, Principal Secretary (Food and Civil Supplies) K.M. Shivakumar and Commissioner, Food and Civil Supplies, Shivaram, told The Hindu that Karnataka ranked first in the introduction of the hi-tech system and this would be extended to all parts of the State over a period of time.

Several other States, which are facing similar problems relating to black-marketing and bogus ration cards, had sought details of the scheme.

Thumb impression

On arrival at the shop, a consumer has to give his thumb impression and all details relating to his family size and a printout of the quantum of foodgrains for which he is eligible is provided.

Thereafter, the small machine at the ration shop deducts the foodgrains provided to the consumer from the quantum made over to the shop by the wholesale agent.

The consumers of all these select ration shops under the pilot project have been provided photo identity-cum-biometric cards.

Meanwhile, the Government has directed that all below the poverty line card holders should be in possession of a photo identity-cum-biometric card to draw their monthly ration, which includes 20 kg of rice at Rs. 3 a kg, 5 kg of wheat also at Rs. 3 a kg, apart from sugar and kerosene at highly subsidised rates.

Deadline

The deadline for the photo identity cards, which was October 15 earlier, has now been extended to November 20. The officials of the Department of Food and Civil Supplies will tour the villages for the next one month and issue the cards on the spot.

Recommended for you