FCI uses AI-based equipment to detect frauds, says official | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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FCI uses AI-based equipment to detect frauds, says official

By, New Delhi
Jan 14, 2024 12:36 AM IST

The corporation is mandated to buy “fair and average quality” grains that must confirm to technical specifications related to moisture content

​ The Food Corporation of India, which manages the government’s granaries, has spruced up its countrywide operations, introducing artificial intelligence-based equipment to detect fraud in its processes involving millions of farmers, a large network of transporters and silos, an official said.

The agency now uses AI-based grain sorters to examine the quality of wheat and rice it buys from farmers, which ensures poor produce is automatically vetted, the official said (AP)
The agency now uses AI-based grain sorters to examine the quality of wheat and rice it buys from farmers, which ensures poor produce is automatically vetted, the official said (AP)

The agency now uses AI-based grain sorters to examine the quality of wheat and rice it buys from farmers, which ensures poor produce is automatically vetted, the official said, wishing to remain unnamed.

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The corporation is mandated to buy “fair and average quality” grains that must confirm to technical specifications related to moisture content. The AI-based equipment can sort cereals based on these parameters with far greater efficiency, the official said. It will ensure all consumers get standard food.

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The statutory organisation has been critical to maintaining food security in the world’s most populous country, as it buys millions of tonnes of farm produce from farmers at federally fixed minimum support prices (MSP), a process known as procurement. It then redistributes the food to 800 million poor people free of cost under the National Food Security Act. The MSP is a floor price to help avoid distress sale by agriculturists.

In 2022-23, the agency bought 76.56 million tonne of paddy and 26.2 million tonne of wheat from about 12.3 million cultivators, paying them 2.19 lakh crore in all, according to official data. The total cost is accounted for as the government’s food subsidy bill.

The agency has also started using chemical testing to crack down on recycling, a fraudulent practice of selling the same lot of grains twice, which helped to detect 140,000 tonne of recycled rice.

Nearly all of its transporters now use GPS-enabled truck tracking systems from procurement to depots. “Adopting new technology of GPS vehicle tracking system has been implemented to ensure real-time tracking of trucks carrying FCI food grains for a real-time planning of intake in its godowns,” the official said.

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The corporation has also digitised its “total workflow of the organization and implemented a seamless e-office”, the official said. This includes digital linking of rice mills with individual warehouses for delivery of rice and allocation of space at individual warehouses for transparency in the procurement process.

“Every office is now connected though videoconferencing facility, which has not only improved our day-to-day operations, but also brought down administrative costs,” a second official said, declining to be named. A call centre to handle complaints is among initiatives taken this year to modernize the organization, the first official added.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Zia Haq reports on public policy, economy and agriculture. Particularly interested in development economics and growth theories.

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