To promote cashless transactions at the fair price shops (FPSs), the government on Thursday asked states to install various payment gateways within next couple of months where the beneficiaries covered under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) would be able to purchase grains without using cash.
In a meeting with food secretaries and ministers from the states, food minister Ram Vilas Pawan urged states to create cashless transaction facilities at FPSs using technologies like Aadhaar-Enabled Payment System (AePS), RuPay debit card payment, Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), United Payment Interface (UPI) and e-wallet.
However, the food ministry official said AePS is a preferred mode of cashless transaction as it allows transaction using beneficiaries’ Aadhaar authentication using point of sale (PoS) machines. At present, only around 28,000 FPSs out of 5.27 lakh in the country has cashless transaction facilities. These FPSs are mostly located in Andhra Pradesh, Gujart and Madhya Pradesh.
In all, 1.76 lakh FPSs have PoS machines. “…states should immediately target beneficiaries under NFSA in urban areas and then spreading out to rural areas for ensuring quick transition to cashless transactions by end of March 2017,” Paswan told FE.
According to data by the food ministry, Andhra Pradesh, which has already installed PoS machines at all its 29,082 FPS, has 20,931 FPSs using the AePS mode which is linked to bank accounts of NFSA beneficiaries. Similarly, Gujarat has installed cashless transaction facilities at 6,925 FPSs out of the total 17,212 FPSs.
States including Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra have said they will install cashless facilities by March 2017. Besides most of the remaining states, with the exception of Bihar and some of the north-eastern states, would be installing digital payment facilities at their FPSs by June 2017.