Ration shops or public distribution points in Kerala will now double up to provide banking services from May 2022.
Sources from the state’s Public Distribution Department told IANS that of more than 14,000 ration stores in the state, about 800 facilities-based stores would offer the service.
The main proposal is to provide banking services through electronic point of sale (EPoS). Sources said four banks have expressed interest in offering the services and chips will be installed in existing ration cards to surface the banking project through ration stores.
Kerala’s Minister of Food and Civil Supplies, GR Anil, will chair a meeting of relevant department and bank officials who had expressed interest in the first week of May.
Other proposals that will be offered through the ration shops include facilities for paying electricity bills, paying water bills and including more provisions like in Maveli shops in areas where units Supplyco are not there.
The minister told IANS the project was in the works and the ministry planned to make the ration stores more user-friendly.
The mobile ration shop facilities will be extended to more tribal hamlets, the minister said, adding that the government launched mobile ration shops after finding that people in the lower poverty categories were unable to to reach ration outlets to purchase rations.
He also said banking facilities will be extended to 1,000 ration stores within a year and the government will engage in discussions with more banks to be included in the scheme.
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