Online lens on ration in 42 shops

The Delhi government has started real-time online monitoring of stocks and functioning of 42 ration shops with an e-governance tool which promises to improve transparency.

The initiative tells the ration cardholder about the time when the fair price shop will open and also monitors the quantity of ration collected by a cardholder from a shop.

“To reduce chances of black marketing, the new system requires at least one member of the ration cardholder’s family to come to the FPS for biometric registration at the time of collecting subsidised wheat, rice and sugar supplies,” said an official.  “The system is likely to be extended to other fair price shops gradually,” he said, adding that there are 2,424 ration shops serving 17.59 lakh cardholders in the city.

The ration cardholders of the 42 shops covered under the pilot project have been issued special e-ration cards. Special machines have also been installed all these shops which track the stocks and time of the opening of the shops.  

The online monitoring is part of the Arvind Kejriwal government’s attempt to weed out those ration shopowners who harass consumers and try to indulge in pilferage. Grievance management Dozens of FPS owners were recently pulled up when many SMS complaints were received in the newly set up public grievance management system by the Delhi government. 

The most common complaint of the ration cardholders has been that they do not get the full amount of their quota of subsidised  ration. “Now, the moment a biometric entry is made, a print-out is generated showing the quantity of ration due against their name,” said an official. Ration shopowners on the other hand complain that the new machines installed at their shops have cost them Rs 23,000.

The margins in sale of subsidised foodgrain is falling and there are a few ration shopowners who manage to earn a monthly profit of only Rs 3,500 to Rs 5,000. 

“They have very few registered ration cardholders in their areas,” said a member of an association of FPS owners.

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