In June 2017, ration portability (ration from anywhere) was introduced in Hyderabad. In 10 months, as many 1,545 fair price shops had made approximately 29 lakh transactions.
This scheme was extended to the rest of Telangana, on April 1, 2018, allowing beneficiaries to buy their ration from any Fair Price Shop in the state.
Speaking to NDTV about the various benefits of this scheme, CV Anand, Civil Supplies Commissioner, and the man who came up with the scheme, explained that it has created competition amongst the ration dealers and as a result, helped customers obtain good service.
Mr Anand is an IPS officer who took charge as the Commissioner of Civil Supplies in August 2016 and has been doing an exemplary job since his appointment.
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Traditionally, this post has been reserved for IAS officers. However, it was found that the department was indulging in corrupt practices like the diversion of PDS rice and other essential commodities to the black market, and these irregularities had caused a substantial financial loss to the state exchequer.
The CM then appointed Mr Anand, to check and reign in the rampant corruption, and in his 18-month tenure, the IPS officer has extensively reformed the PDS. By forming special enforcement teams that carried raids on rice mills and ration shops that were participating in the diversion of PDS stocks, he has helped the state save over Rs 1,200 crore. Earlier, Mr Anand had stopped the incorrect printing of ration cards in Telangana saving the government approximately Rs 6 crore.
The initiative was introduced in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) and in districts, on a pilot basis. It is expected to benefit 2.75 crore Public Distribution System (PDS) beneficiaries.
Moreover, customers can get their ration from any shop in the state. This has eased woes, especially for those who have relocated within the city or town. Further, this allows individual family members to get their ration from different ration shops.
There are 85 lakh ration card holders in the state who get their ration from 17,000 ration shops. They are all linked to an Aadhaar-based biometric system which would help the cardholder get his/her ration from anywhere in the state.
Customers can download the T-Ration App, which would enable them to locate the nearest ration shop. A text message will be sent to the registered mobile number as soon as a customer’s quota was taken. Mr Anand stated that ration cards would not be terminated even if the holders did not take their ration.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)