Now, it's smart ration cards

Now, it's smart ration cards

Rs 70-crore pilot project in four districts soon

Now, it's smart ration cards

The pilot project, expected to cost Rs 70 crore is likely to be implemented in six months and will cover 5,000 Fair Price Shops (FPS) in the first phase. M Madan Gopal, Principal Secretary, Department of Food and Civil Supplies said each ration shop would be equipped with an electronic card reader costing Rs 25,000 each. It would be enabled to read the card details and record all transactions. The expenses for the cards and the machines will be borne by the government.

Tender process

The smart cards will contain details of family members including their photographs and biometrics. It can be used not just by the primary card holder but also by the family members. Madan Gopal said that tender process would begin shortly for the pilot.

The Secretary said about 10 lakh bogus ration cards are still in circulation across the State. After the Belgaum legislature session last year, 28 lakh people were issued temporary Below Poverty Line (BPL) cards without any checks and this resulted in several families obtaining two to three cards. Now 509 teams across the State are involved the process of eliminating all the bogus cards and the task is expected to be completed by the end of this month.

Criminal prosecution

The bogus card holders will face criminal prosecution. Genuine card holders will get permanent cards by the end of the month. Comat Technologies, which has the contract for issuing the cards, will be penalised if  the process is delayed, Gopal said.

While the photo capturing of card holders is almost over, document verification will be completed in a couple of weeks. Those who have still not received their cards after this round of verification will get another three months’ time to apply again for a card.