Karnataka’s first rice dispensing machine or ‘rice ATM’ will come up in one of the slum areas in Bengaluru in the next few months, state Minister for Food and Civil Supplies K Gopalaiah said. Announced in September, the initiative is part of the Centre’s pilot project ‘Annapurti’, that is being implemented in close partnership with the United Nation’s World Food Programme (WFP).
The WEP, which won the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize, has been working closely with the Government in carrying out reforms in the Public Distribution System (PDS).
Gopalaiah told indianexpress.com: “We have appointed an officer to look after this programme and follow up with the centre and WFP to set up the Rice ATM. In another few months, the ATM will be ready and the first rice-dispensing machine will be set up in one of the slum areas in Bengaluru.”
Automatic grain dispensing machines will also be set up at five locations across five states Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. These machines, expected to check malpractices in the PDS, can dispense two commodities at a speed of 25 kg per 1.3 minutes. Each of these dispensers has a built-in storage capacity of 200-500 kg.
The Karnataka government has been providing 5 kg of rice per month under Anna Bhagya scheme to every member of a Below Poverty Line (BPL) household since 2013, and Above Poverty Level (APL) family members get rice for Rs 15 per kg. Under Anna Bhagya scheme, ration cardholders also get edible oils, sugar, iodized salt, kerosene and other items at a lower price.
“We will identify a slum with a large number of people and install it. It will very useful for the poor people since it will remain open 24X7 with rice availability, and people can make use of it accordingly and will potentially do away with the need to wait in long queues in front of ration shops,” Gopalaiah said.
The minister said that Rice ATMs will be beneficial for BPL carholders, who don’t find time to go to the PDS centre during working hours.
“As per the initial project report, the rice-dispensing machines will come in different sizes from 100 kg to 500 kg capacity. The person who needs rice should insert a coin in the machine and a certain quantity of rice will be dispensed,” the minister explained.
To make Rice ATM’s convenient for public usage, the government is also considering a smart card or a biometric system similar to bank ATMs.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines