Kerala Kaumudi Online
Tuesday, 16 April 2024 8.52 PM IST

E-Pos issues: Permanent solution is needed


While it is generally believed that advances in technology will make public service more efficient and faster, recent experience has shown that this is not the case in matters related to ration distribution. Not only the distribution of ration but also the mustering process has been hampered in many places as the e-POS machines used for the distribution of ration in the state are not working effectively. It is needless to say that this is an issue that directly affects the daily life of the people and the government needs to be more cautious.

The Centre had instructed to start the mustering process on May 10, 2023. However, the state started the process only by the end of February this year. All other states have almost completed mustering. There was a warning that the distribution of ration itself would be stopped if the mustering was not completed by March 31. Kerala has sent a letter to the Centre to extend the mustering process till May 31st in this situation but has not received a reply.

It was decided to use SIM cards which give the best network coverage in the respective area in the e-pos machines used for the distribution of ration. However, the food department could not implement it. Every time there was an e-POS failure, the authorities came to the conclusion that it was due to a server failure. There is also frequent criticism of blaming the ration traders. The mustering was also put on hold as the NIC and IT Mission requested more time to fix the server.

The authentication user agency, owned by the state IT mission, had detected a fault in the server. Due to this, mustering could not be done smoothly even though it was reduced to only yellow cards. Even after crossing March 31, the fault has not been resolved and full-scale mustering has not been carried out. E-Pos has not been effective even though the mustering has been stopped and only distribution of rations has been happening. More than 15 lakh people bought ration through OTP.

More people depend on ration shops than before. This is because good food grains are available. GR Anil is a very energetic Food and Civil Supplies Minister. It has to be examined why his department is not performing as expected even though he is working sincerely.

No more lapses should happen in streamlining ration distribution and completing mustering. The Cabinet should take collective responsibility in this regard. The Chief Minister himself should take the initiative and help the food department. It is sad that Supplyco does not have the required products even during the month of Ramadan. The government should not stay silent on issues affecting people's lives in the name of economic crisis. Immediate intervention is essential.

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