Maharshtra food inspectors to be provided with tablets
The state FDA has 428 inspectors and all of them will be given these tablets in a phased manner to carry out transparent and faster inspections
Mumbai: Food and drug inspectors in Maharashtra will soon be taking tablets loaded with special mobile apps to work. The government last week distributed 100 such tablets to inspectors as part of the first phase.
Nearly 700,000 establishments in the state come under the state Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The state FDA has 428 inspectors and all of them will be given these tablets in a phased manner to carry out transparent and faster inspections, Maharashtra’s food and civil supplies minister Girish Bapat said on Tuesday. He said a few other states had also introduced this facility.
The tablets come preloaded with an app developed by the FDA that would record all the details that the inspectors would log in on the site.
“Once the information is recorded on site, it cannot be tampered with or changed even by the inspector concerned or the department. For instance, if the establishment which is being inspected is found not following the prescribed standards of hygiene, the violations would be recorded in the tablet and they can’t be changed. There would be pictures taken and saved in the tablet. So the person who runs the establishment will be liable for questioning and cannot argue that the inspector was acting out of malice,” Bapat said.
The tablet will also record the login timings of the inspector which can be monitored by senior officials, he added.
The ministry plans to extend the initiative to the weight and measurements inspectors too, Bapat said.
The department of information technology bought the tablets from a budgetary provision of Rs62 lakh, at a cost of Rs9,416 each, Bapat said.
“This would help the inspectors map out a higher number of establishments in a day than they would in physical inspection that involved paperwork and recording of information that could be tampered with,” the minister added.
Bapat said the state has already started remote monitoring of nearly 52,000 ration shops through PoS (point of sale) machines. The machine helps the FDA office in Mumbai and the Food and civil supplies ministry in the Mantralaya monitor a ration shop anywhere in the state and record contents like live stock of food grains and commodities distributed under the PDS in that shop, the minister said.
The monitoring helped the ministry reduce the number of grievances of ration shop operators from 4500 at the start of 2017-18 fiscal to only 42 grievances by 31 March. Bapat added that no ration shop operator needed to physically visit Mumbai with his grievances and complaints are now addressed and disposed of from Mantralaya itself.