New Delhi: Fair price shops in the capital will be linked to biometric system by early next year, work for which has begun, essentially aimed at curbing corruption and irregularities in the Public Distribution System (PDS).
"The process of installing biometric system in fair price shops has started. The procedure of e-tender is underway in this regard and the project is expected to be implemented by May, 2016," Food and Supplies Minister Imran Hussain said.
Mr Hussain, a recent inductee in the Delhi Cabinet, was replying to a question raised by AAP MLA Ajesh Yadav during the ongoing winter session of the Assembly.
Mr Hussain also said that there was a freeze on issuing new BPL ration cards in the city as under provisions of the Food Security Act (FSA), old card holders (BPL) were being brought under the selected priority household families category (PR-S).
In Delhi, PDS comprises a network of around 2,300 fair price shops, catering to nearly 19.7 lakh ration card holders across all strata of the population. Around 73 lakh people (about 44 per cent of total population) in Delhi will be covered under the FSA.
As per official break-up, there are a total of 77,552 Antyodaya Anna Yojna cardholders, 1,90,788 PR-S and 16,91,720 PR (priority category sans sugar) card holders. Under the FSA, 70,722 applications have been received till date for issuance of new ration cards.
"There is a proposal to maintain a list of the verified applications in order of preference. As soon as the prescribed numbers will be available, the ration cards will be issued," the minister added.
Apart from acting as a check on irregularities, the biometric system is also intended to ensure recording of transactions in fair price shops in real-time and make them readily available for monitoring.