New systems for monitoring transactions at fair price shops (FPSs) are yielding quick dividends for the government, reports Sandip Das in New Delhi. Around 16% of ration card holders in Rajasthan have not apparently turned up for collecting the provisions since early September, when all 25,000 FPSs in the state started using electronic point of sale (ePOS) machines. The state government believes that the sudden drop in the number of buyers is due to ePOS-induced transparency, which curtailed the scope for manipulation of purchase records and diversion of PDS grains to the open market. However, the state government is conducting a survey to confirm the assumption.
According to Subodh Agarwal, principal secretary at Rajasthan’s food and civil supplies department, about 70 lakh of the 4.2 crore identified beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act did not lift highly subsided foodgrain over the last couple of months. These people, he said, have been given time till December to lift their monthly quota of wheat or rice. “If they fail to do so, we will send our teams to the addresses of these cardholders and if fraud is found, the cards will be revoked,” Agarwal told FE. The official said the Rajasthan government had removed 13 lakh fake ration cards from the beneficiary list in the last one year.