The ration shops or public distribution outlets in Kerala will henceforth double up to provide banking services from May 2022 onwards.
Sources in the state public distribution department told IANS that of more than 14,000 ration shops in the state, around 800 shops with facilities would offer the service.
The major proposal is to provide banking services through the Electronic Point of Sale (EPoS). Sources said that four banks have evinced interest in offering the services and chips will be installed in existing ration cards to bring out the project of banking through ration shops.
Kerala minister for Food and Civil Supplies G.R. Anil will chair a meeting of the concerned officials of the department and the banks that had evinced interest in the first week of May.
Other proposals that will be offered through ration shops include power bills payment facilities, payment of water bills and to include more provisions like in Maveli stores in areas where the Supplyco units are not there.
The Minister told IANS that the project is in the pipe line and that the department is planning to make the Ration shops more user friendly.
Mobile ration shop facilities will be extended to more tribal hamlets, the minister said and added that the government has commenced mobile ration shops after it was found out that those in the below poverty categories were not able to reach the ration outlets to buy rations.
He also said that the banking facilities will be extended to 1000 ration shops within a year and that the government would engage in discussions with more banks to be included in the project.