Karnataka had brought in the concept of water ATMs in the state and now the state has decided to follow Vietnam and Indonesia in bringing in the concept of rice ATMs in the state. These ATMs will be exclusive to the ration cardholders.
The installation of these ATMs is done with an attempt to benefit those who are under the Public Distribution System (PDS) and are Below Poverty Line Holders (BPL) in order to make it convenient for them to get rice and avoid queues that they usually have to part of. Currently, the state has only water dispensing out of the ATMs and there are nearly 800 such facilities installed all over the state. A similar procedure will be followed for rice ATMs.
The government is checking all the aspects of this move and will only give its concrete approval when they tick all the feasibilities. While talking to the Print, food and Civil Supplies Minister K. Gopalaiah said, “Quality control is very important. We also need to ascertain how we will refill the grains in these ATMs if they are kept open 24×7. This is being done in the interest of people, and we hope to see it implemented soon.”
The whole system of rice ATMs will be similar to water dispensers installed in the state. People will be handed over the tokens which they can encash as rice from ATMs. The state announced that it currently covers five crore individuals under its Anna Bhagya (free rice) scheme. Under this system, the Karnataka government offers five kg of free rice to BPL cardholders.
The families who come under the Above Poverty Line are not eligible for rice ATMs as of now but they can buy rice at Rs 15 per kg as the standard price. The government is looking at possibilities of how to ease the encashment other than with the help of tokens. They are looking at using smart cards or biometrics to increase convenience. The Karnataka government is also giving free rice to migrant laborers as well.
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