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Maharashtra: F&D inspectors to use tabs to monitor ration shop functioning

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Each costing Rs 9,416, the tabs have been handed over to F&D inspectors. The system will enable field officers to monitor functioning of each and every ration shop across the state

Taking cashless transactions and a transparent system ahead, the Maharashtra government on Tuesday decided to eliminate any manipulations in 52,000 ration shops across 36 districts of the state.

To begin with, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis distributed 428 specially designed tabs to Food and Drug (F&D) inspectors for collecting online data during field visits. The tabs were introduced to get rid of human intervention and manipulations in data during field visits by inspectors.

“The tab is one more step to bring transparency and accountability in the food distribution system. The online process will enable the F&D inspectors to closely monitor and eliminate any manipulations in data collected from each and every ration shop,” said an official.

Each costing Rs 9,416, the tabs have been handed over to F&D inspectors. The system will enable field officers to monitor functioning of each and every ration shop across the state. The process is part of the ongoing reforms undertaken by the government beginning with introduction of biometric system to identify individuals allocated subsidised monthly ration. The Information and Technology department has provided the tabs to the Food and Civil Supplies department.

Another decision relates to promoting cashless transactions in ration shops through point of sale (POS) machines.

Food and Civil Supplies Minister Girish Bapat said, “We have taken the decision to introduce POS machines in every ration shop. Now, they can also operate as little banks lending small amounts not exceeding a few thousands and earning a commission.” Indicating that it would not be a parallel banking system, he said, “Often, people urgently require a few hundred rupees for a few days or weeks. Now, these ration shops, through cashless transactions, can maintain records and lend the amount. They can earn some commission.”

To make ration shops economically more viable, the government has also allowed them to stock and sell groceries and vegetables. The ration shops will be allowed to stock and sell seeds required by farmers for growing crops including cereals.

Almost 4,300 ration shops had closed their operations recently seeking more facilities to make them viable. The state government has conceded almost all their demands to enable them to have greater accountability and to ensure that consumers are not cheated.


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