The project is an initiative of the Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (FCSCA) department of the state government.
"This project will be beneficial for both the government as well as public. It will bring transparency and eliminate irregularities in public distribution system (PDS). The system can be run both on special devices called HHT
(hand-held terminals) or through a normal laptop," RP Gupta, principal secretary of FCSCA department said.

At present, there are around 17,200 ration shops, catering to more than 70 lakh households having ration cards in the state.
"We are having a centralized server with PDS software, which will be installed in these devices. With this system, the consumer has to give his thumb print on the screen of HHT or finger print scanner attached to laptop while buying commodities from FPS," said Gupta.

"Since the device will be attached with our system, we would know how much quantity is actually given to the ration card holder, who will also be given the copy of bill from an attached printer. Thus, everything can be tracked by us in real time about what the consumer purchased and what he got from the shopkeeper," he said.
The department sells commodities to these shopkeepers from its godown as and when they require for their shops. In the present system, the shopkeeper submits the copies of all the bills to the department at the end of every month to settle his account.

"In this current system, we can find out what he (shopkeeper) took from us, but it is difficult to audit what happened to that stock, as the bills come to us once a month.
With the advent of this online system, we can keep a check on daily basis, as all the devices are online and connected with our system. Every transaction can now be tracked easily," Gupta said.
The HHT device looks similar to the ones used by bus conductors. It will have a small screen, an attached printer to print bills, a SIM card slot for connectivity and a finger print scanner.

"Each HHT can cost up to Rs 30,000. Thus, the total cost of the project may be around Rs 50 crores if all the shopkeepers are roped in," he said while clarifying that the devices are not purchased by the department.

"Each shopkeeper will have to buy the HHT or the laptop having that system in it. However, the Central government has agreed to bear 50 per cent cost. Thus, shopkeepers will not get the entire burden," Gupta added.


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