Govt tweaks norms to encourage ePoS linkage with electronic weighing machines at ration shops
Aiming to ensure that beneficiaries covered under the food law get right quantity of foodgrains, the Centre has tweaked norms to promote use of electronic weighing machines at ration shops and their integration with electronic point of sale (ePoS) devices.
Under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), the Centre provides 5 kg of wheat and rice (foodgrains) per month per person to around 80 crore people at a subsidised rate of Rs 2-3 per kg.
“The Department of Food and Public Distribution has issued a notification on 18th June, 2021 to ensure right quantity to beneficiaries in distribution of subsidised foodgrains as per their entitlement under the NFSA, 2013,” an official statement said.
To incentivise states which are operating ePoS devices in a judicious manner and generate savings from the additional margin of Rs 17 per quintal provided to them, the government said that Rule 7 in sub-rule (2) of Food Security (Assistance to State Government Rules) 2015 has been amended.
“Any savings if accrued by any State/Union Territory from the additional margin provided towards the cost of purchase, operation and maintenance of the point of sale device, its running expenses and incentive for its use, can henceforth be utilised for purchase, operations and maintenance of electronic weighing scales and their integration with the point of sale devices,” the statement said.
This would encourage other states to generate savings through judicious use of ePoS devices.
The food ministry said that the amendment is an attempt to take forward the reform process by improving transparency of operations of the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) under the NFSA.
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“While distribution through ePoS devices ensures that subsidised foodgrains are provided to the rightful beneficiary through biometric authentication, integration of ePoS devices with electronic weighing scales would ensure that the beneficiary is given the right quantity of foodgrains by the Fair Price Shop dealer as per his entitlement,” the statement said.
Food Security (Assistance to State Government Rules) 2015 provides for additional margin to Fair Price Shop (FPS) dealers for sale through ePoS as an incentive to ensure transparent recording of transactions at all levels.
Accordingly, the scheme ‘Assistance to state agencies for intra-state movement of foodgrains and FPS dealers margin under NFSA’ provides for additional margin of Rs 17 per quintal to all state governments/Union Territories towards the cost of purchase, operation and maintenance of the point of sale device, its running expenses and incentive for its use.
The additional margin is payable for the fair price shop which has installed a point-of-sale device and is limited to the transactions made through it.
The NFSA provides for reforms in the PDS through application of information and communication technology tools including end-to-end computerisation to ensure transparent recording of transactions at all levels, and to prevent diversion. It also provides for leveraging Aadhaar for unique identification, with biometric information of entitled beneficiaries for proper targeting of benefits under the Act.