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EPoS Systems at 5.33 Lakh PDS Shops in India, But No Response by Ministry on Device Failures

The ministry’s response didn’t include any info on shops with non-operational EPoS systems due to lack of connectivity and non-availability of equipment.

Around 98 percent of the total Fair Price Shops (FPSs) in India now have Electronic Point of Sale (EPoS) devices installed, the Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti stated in a written response to a Lok Sabha question on December 7. The query concerned the installation of biometric censors at all Public Distribution System (PDS) shops as part of the One Nation, One Ration Card (ONORC) scheme and the measures taken by the government to address problems related to internet connectivity and access to required electronic equipment in rural areas. According to the response, more than 5.33 lakh of the total 5.4 lakh FPSs in the country have EPoS devices, which along with biometric authenticators are key enablers of ration card portability under the ONORC scheme. There is no mention of any data on the number of shops with non-operational EPoS systems due to lack of connectivity and non-availability of equipment. Regarding connectivity, the answer states that a list of remote/shadow/no-network areas have been sent to the Department of Telecommunications to resolve the internet problems. What is EPoS? An electronic method to enable customers pay for goods and services, EPoS is considered to be an effective method to track sales and capture consumer data. Under the ONORC scheme, beneficiaries are provided with a choice to collect their quota of food grains from any PDS shop anywhere in the country using their existing ration card and by completing the biometric authentication on an EPoS…

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Curious about privacy, surveillance developments and the intersection of technology with education, caste and welfare rights. Outside work, I am either reading, reflecting on my notepad, re-tuning my voice or just overthinking!

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