Fulfilling the promise to deliver ration to families registered under National Food Security Act (NFSA) effectively and with full transparency, Food, Civil Supply and Consumer affair Minister Punjab Bharat Bhushan Ashu on Saturday launched the Smart Ration Card scheme, which will allow beneficiaries to withdraw ration from their choice of Depots or Fair Price Shops (FPS).The minister distributed 10 smart ration cards to the district beneficiaries simultaneously via video conference with the Chief Minister Punjab Captain Amarinder Singh, who launched the scheme from Chandigarh. Political Secretary to Chief Minister Captain Sandeep Singh Sandhu, Mayor Balkar Singh Sandhu and Deputy Commissioner Varinder Kumar Sharma were also present during the launching.While launching the event from Chandigarh, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh said that this is all due to the efforts of Bharat Bhushan Ashu that the scheme was successfully launched as he had worked very hard to digitise the whole process of the ration distribution system, which will not only facilitate the beneficiaries but also help to eliminate the corruption.Apart from present 1.41 crores beneficiaries, the Chief Minister announced to include additional nine lakh beneficiaries, who are eligible but not covered under the NFSA so that every entitled person will be benefitted from this scheme and the state government will bear the expenditure.
Food and Civil Supply Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu said that before 2017, food was being distributed using the manual process. After coming to power, the Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh led Punjab Government introduced technology and started a pilot project in four districts to distribute food to beneficiaries using E-pos machines, which was later successfully implemented across the state in 2018.He said that to make the process more digitised and easier, the Punjab Government has launched the Smart Ration Cards, by using which beneficiaries can now withdraw the food grains from the Fair Price Shops (FPS) through e-PoS machines without carrying any additional documents. The Smart Ration Card will be swiped on the e-PoS machine to fetch the details of the family, after which the bio-metrics authentication of the family member will be done to withdraw the food grains, he said adding that the cards can also be used for intra-state portability.Explaining about the security features of Smart Ration Card he said that the details of the beneficiaries integrated into the chip will be locked which will be read from authenticated devices only. The file structure is designed in such a way that it will be operated through the authenticated e-PoS machines only.On the occasion, Chairman Improvement Trust Raman Subramaniam, Senior Congress leader Ashwani Kumar Sharma Additional Deputy Commissioner (Khanna) Jaspal Singh, DFSC Sukhwinder Gill, DFSC Harveen and Backfinco Vice Chairman Mohammad Gulab among other prominent persons were present.Meanwhile, MLAs and SDMs have simultaneously launched this scheme in the remaining areas by distributing cards to 10 beneficiaries in their respective constituencies.