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October 25, 2013

Bar-coded Photo Ration Cards – A Step Towards Transparency

Bar-coded Photo Ration Cards – A Step Towards Transparency
In an attempt to eliminate the menace of fake ration cards, the State Food and Supplies Department will distribute bar-coded photo-ration cards to beneficiaries from January 2014.  
This will help a beneficiary, who possesses a ration card registered in Kolkata, get food grains from ration shops located anywhere in the state. Earlier, such beneficiary could get food grains from a particular ration shop only.  
Aimed at ensuring effective public distribution system in the State, the project will cost around Rs. 112 crore. The Centre will provide Rs. 25.33 crore and the remaining will be provided by the State government.   
State Food and Supplies Minister Jyotipriya Mullick held a meeting in this regard with state Finance Minister Amit Mitra at Nabanna.   
“Introducing the smart card facility will help us plug leakages in the public distribution system, “ said Mr Mullick.   
He said tablet computers will be provided and two computer operators will be appointed for the 20,700 ration shops in the state. Database relating to National Population Register (NPR) or Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) will be provided to them.   
A beneficiary will have to carry all the ration cards of his family members to the respective ration shop. The computer operator at the shop will verify the records from the NPR or SECC database and record the ration card number and the category of the card, whether it is BPL. The card will then be stamped and handed over to the beneficiary.   
The preliminary process for recording the cards at the ration shops and preparation of smart cards will begin in 11 districts – Howrah, South Dinajpur, Cooch Behar, Kolkata, North 24-Parganas, Burdwan, Birbhum, Bankura, Purulia, East Midnapore and Hooghly – from 29 October to 30 November. The process will start in the middle of November in the remaining eight districts.