Consumers no longer need to make round trips to the ration depots or wait in long lines. For the first time, the government has developed a one-of-a-kind 'Grain ATM,' which ensures that the proper amount of food is delivered to the right beneficiary with the least amount of fuss. Dushyant Chautala, Haryana's Deputy Chief Minister who also oversees the Food and Civil Supplies Department, said that with the installation of Grain ATMs, all issues about waiting times and incorrect ration quantity measurement will be addressed. This decision was made as part of a trial project that will see these ATMs installed in a number of cities.
What is a grain ATM?
Grain ATM is a self-service machine that works similarly to a bank ATM. With the push of a button, the user will be able to obtain food grains from the machine. This equipment, dubbed Automated, Multi Commodity, Grain Dispensing Machine, will be installed under the United Nations' World Food Programme.” It has the capacity to dispense up to 70 kg of grains in five to seven minutes. An officer with this initiative, Ankit Sood, told The Indian Express that the inaccuracy in grain measuring is close to nothing
How will it work?
This grain ATM includes a biometric system with a touch screen. To obtain food grains from this machine, the beneficiary must enter his or her Aadhar number and Ration Card number. The next step would be biometric authentication after which the food grains prescribed by the government to the recipients will be automatically filled in the bags put under the machine. Three types of grains, including wheat, rice, and millet, will be given out of the machine.
Future of Grain ATM
The Haryana government aims to put these devices at its depots across the state after the trial project in Farrukhnagar, Gurugram, is a success. Consumers will be able to obtain food grains by simply pressing their thumb against the machine.
“The objective of installing this machine is to ensure that the right quantity should reach the right beneficiary, besides the transparency in the public food distribution system,” said deputy chief minister Dushyant Chautala.
What is the United Nations' World Food Programme?
The United Nations' World Food Programme (WFP) is in charge of the food aid branch of the United Nation. It is the largest humanitarian organization in the world, as well as the largest focused on hunger and food security.
WFP has been engaged in India since 1963, switching from food distribution to technical aid once the country attained self-sufficiency. Because the government now provides its own food distribution networks, their work focuses on assisting in the strengthening of these systems so that they can become more efficient and reach the people who need them the most.
Food rationing in India
The 'rationing' system adopted by the British during World War II gave rise to the evolution of public grain distribution in India. Given that rationing and its successor, the public distribution system (PDS), have played an important role in achieving improved levels of household food security. When India launched on the path of planned economic development in 1951, public distribution of foodgrains was kept as a purposeful social policy.
Rationing, or the Public Distribution System (PDS), was made a nationwide universal policy in the mid-1960s, and it grew gradually until 1991. In the 1990s, liberalization measures resulted in the abolition of universal rationing and the replacement of it with a strategy of selective targeting. This meant that not everyone would be eligible to get subsidized or free food grains. The population was divided into- BPL (Below Poverty Line) and APL (Above Poverty Line).
The National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013, guaranteed legal access to rations and other food-based programs (such as mid-day meals in schools). Around 75 percent of rural households and 50 percent of urban households were eligible for inclusion (now known as priority households) in the NFSA. These new grain ATMs could do wonders for the Indian rationing system!