Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has directed the food and civil supplies department to restart the Delhi government's flagship project of doorstep delivery of ration using electronic point of sale (e-PoS) devices. The direction came after Union food minister Ram Vilas Paswan wrote to Kejriwal, urging Delhi to implement the Centre's 'one nation, one ration card' policy.
Paswan, in his letter dated May 23, had explained that the inclusion of the national capital in the scheme would mean that 71 lakh ration card holders of Delhi will be able to get their monthly ration from any fair price shop in the country.
Using e-PoS devices is key to both the 'one nation, one ration' policy and the doorstep delivery of ration, a senior government official said.
As per the plan, e-PoS devices are to be given to all the 2,028 fair price shops in Delhi and also to agents who would deliver the monthly ration to the doorstep of card holders. The process includes entering the ration card number into the device, followed by the biometric (fingerprint scanning) of the beneficiary or entering the Aadhaar card details. Once the details are matched with the database, the ration is disbursed to the beneficiary.
"I want to point out that Delhi, despite having 100% Aadhaar seeding of its ration card holders and having e-PoS devices in its fair price shops, is not disbursing ration based on biometrics. This is because the Delhi government has stopped the usage of e-PoS for ration distribution from April 2018. This was to be resumed by the Delhi government, but the same has not happened till now," Paswan's letter in Hindi said.
Responding to this, the chief minister's office directed additional chief secretary (home) Satya Gopal, who is the nodal officer for Covid in Delhi, to ensure implementation of doorstep delivery of ration through e-POS.
"Following the directions, we have sent all our e-PoS machines to Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) for its health check since they have not been in use for a long time. There were also some software glitches that we were facing which has been resolved now," said a senior government official on condition of anonymity.
32 LAKH E-COUPONS ISSUED
Delhi's food and civil supplies department has managed to issue at least one round of ration to over 1 crore people since April, government reports showed.
"The 71 lakh ration card holders have already received two rounds of free enhanced ration. For non-ration card holders, the department has disbursed dry ration to over 32 lakh people in two rounds so far. In the second round, which began from May 18, we provided the CM relief kits to beneficiaries," a senior government official said.
The government also has a third tier for those who do not have ration cards or Aadhaar cards, which is the emergency food relief coupons that are being disbursed by MLAs and MPs of Delhi.
"We have completed one round of disbursing ration through these emergency coupons and these covered 1.74 lakh beneficiaries. Printing of coupons for the second round is currently underway. This time, we will have colour coded coupons with barcodes," a second official said.
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