Representative photo by Georgi Dyulgerov on Unsplash

The Tripura government is planning to replace paper-made ration card books with smart cards for converting the entire public distribution system (PDS) to digital mode to bring more transparency in the system.

State food, civil supplies, and consumer affairs minister Sushanta Chowdhury on March 29 announced the decision.

Tripura introduced biometric-based PDS disbursement for the first time in 2018 and during digitization as many as 62,173 fake ration cards were detected under the possession of around 2.81 people who had been withdrawing the PDS materials for a long time.

The state government has decided to distribute 9.59 lakh smart cards replacing the paper-made ration book, transform 765 ‘model’ ration shops, and set up of civil supplies and consumer affairs corporation under the department to make the system commercially feasible.

Besides, ration dealers and their family members would be brought under the coverage of health insurance, the minister said.

“Mitra will also be introduced for delivering ration to the doorsteps of senior citizens,” Chowdhury said, adding that the government is contemplating providing mustard oil at subsidized rates through fair price shops in addition to the items enlisted including rice, sugar, masoor dal, flour, and kerosene oil.

Prime minister Narendra Modi has significantly focused on promoting millets and hence, the department will also consider providing millets in PDS, the minister said.

The department will also extend assistance of Rs 10,000 to each of the fair price shops for a “new look”.

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