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Chandigarh, January 23:
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday announced his government’s decision to cover the entire state with the Electronic Point of Sale (e-POS) system by March 31, 2018, thus eliminating the widespread corruption linked to the controversial blue ration cards.

The decision, aimed at bringing transparency and accountability in the Public Distribution System (PDS), was announced after a review meeting of the Department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, chaired by the Chief Minister.
The move will help weed out all the bogus beneficiaries who were issued ration cards, thus ensuring fair distribution of ration to the eligible and genuine beneficiaries through the fair prices shops in the state, the Chief Minister said.
Captain Amarinder expressed the confidence that, besides elimination of bogus/ineligible card holders, the consumer-friendly new system would also help curb pilferage of food grains. By ending the era of paper ration cards, it will also facilitate social audit of pro-poor schemes, thereby ensuring that the needy and eligible beneficiaries get their allocated quantity of ration in a fair and transparent manner, he pointed out.
Principal Secretary Food and Civil Supplies KAP Sinha informed the meeting that 1600 inspectors would be deputed to ensure seamless functioning of End to End Computerization and e-PoS. Each inspector would use every machine at approximately 10 Fair Price Shops (FPS) on rotation basis. These e-PoS machines would be used for Biometric Aadhaar-based identification of the department's functionaries and beneficiaries. Thet would also be linked with weighing machines and IRIS (eye) scanners, Director Food & Supplies Anindita Mitra further informed the meeting.
Already launched as a pilot project in SAS Nagar (Mohali), where it has so far benefitted 34,485 beneficiaries, the e-POS system will be extended to Patiala, Mansa and Fatehgarh Sahib on January 26, an official spokesperson disclosed after the high-level meeting. Thereafter, it will be expanded to cover the other districts by 31st March, 2018, he added.
Earlier, reviewing the arrangements for the ensuing Rabi season-2018, the Chief Minister directed the Food & Civil Supplies department and the heads of the various state procurement agencies to make adequate arrangements well in advance to ensure that every single grain of the state’s farmers is lifted from the Mandis in a fair and hassle-free manner, backed by timely payments.
On the issue of enhancing the storage capacity of food grains in a scientific manner, the Chief Minister asked the department to calculate the estimated capacity of food storage required and come up with a comprehensive time-bound action plan to address the problem.
Prominent amongst others who attended the meeting were Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal, Media Advisor to CM Raveen Thukral, Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh, Financial Commissioner Taxation MP Singh, Principal Secretary to CM Tejveer Singh, along with Excise and Taxation Commissioner Vivek Pratap Singh.

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