Rs.250 crore project to make Kerala’s ration shops paperless

Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 21 (IANS) The Kerala government, supported by the UN World Food Programme (WFP), has launched a Rs.250 crore project to ensure that the 14,000 ration shops in the state turn paperless, a Kerala minister has said.

Speaking to IANS, State Minister for Food and Civil Supplies Anup Jacob said the pilot project in this regard has been launched and at the moment the computerisation process has begun at 14 selected ration shops.

“We expect to finish the pilot project in a matter of three months and after that we will go for the state-wide implementation which we expect to finish in a year’s time. The funds for this project are not a problem as the Centre will provide them in instalments. Besides, the state government is also sharing the cost,” said Jacob.

Elaborating, Jacob said this is a project that will ensure that the state’s much lauded public distribution system becomes more effective and transparent.

“As soon as an entry is made in a ration shop, it goes into the main server and gets accounted for in all concerned offices. All vehicles carrying food items for ration distribution would be monitored through a GPS system,” added Jacob.

The WFP is partnering the state government in its effort to improve transparency and efficiency in the delivery of food to 34 million people across the state.

“If this project to change the way food is delivered in Kerala is successful, it can be replicated in other parts of India. We are enthusiastic about this new project,” said Hameed Nuru, the WFP country director.

The WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger globally. On an average, the WFP reaches more than 90 million people with food assistance in 80 countries annually.

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