“Annapurna”: The Grain Vending Machine

Be it ATM machines, mobile phones, digital cameras, wrist watches or any of the latest launched gadgets. All these technologies have made life easier, mostly, for people who belong to the middle, upper-middle and elite class i.e., the class which has a purchasing power of some degree. Naturally, people who are deprived from even the basic necessities of life, have not benefited from the technological advancements that we have been making. But soon a technology is about to be introduced which is for the people below poverty line (BPL) and the other ration card-holders.

The machine, ‘Annapurna’, was unveiled by Chief Minister of Delhi Sheila Dikshit. A team of Delhi Technological University (DTU), formerly called Delhi College of Engineering (DCE), headed by Dr. Visuals Verma, Assistant Professor, Electrical Engineering in close association with Designinnova has designed automated vending machines to be placed at public distribution system (PDS) outlets.

Once machines are installed at ration shops, the ration card-holders will simply have to ask the shopkeeper the amount of ration they need. And shopkeeper’s task will be confined to just press the button and grain will automatically come out of the machine. The machine has been made on the model on ATMs machines.
The technology will help combating the high level of corruption and exploitation prevalent in the PDS system. It will also help overcoming the chances of weight tampering which has kept diluted the whole purpose of PDS.

In the later stage, instead of ration cards, smart cards will be issued with which card holders could themselves swipe the card and get the amount of food-grain they need. This technology will also lessen the role of the shopkeeper to very extent.

The dispensing machine requires only 15-18 watts of power supply. It can even be powered by a solar panel and has little or no maintenance requirement. The accuracy of measurement of this machine can differ up to +/- 1 gm.

The Delhi government hopes that this will drive away the adulteration of grains with stones and tampering of the weighing machine. The implementation of this project is soon going to be a boon for the poor man’s belly.

Kusum Kanojia

[Image courtesy: http://crs.org/kenya/img/ken-food-crisis-q-and-a.jpg]