Project overview

To ensure efficient and effective distribution of food grains at the last mile, World Food Programme (WFP) India has developed the 'GrainATM,' also known as 'Annapurti' (Hindi for fulfiller of food). This automated multi-commodity dispensing machine provides people with consistent access to their full food ration with speed and accuracy, once biometric authentication has taken place.

Annapurti machines
Units developed and to be deployed
Designs to support variation in volume and speed
50 kilograms
Grain dispensed in 5 minutes with an error rate of 0.01%
Target beneficiaries per month per unit
The problem

The Government of India operates one of the world’s largest food-based safety nets, under which subsidized grains are provided to 813 million people every month, through a network of over 500,000 last-mile outlets called Fair Price Shops (FPS). Under the current set up, FPS operators manually weigh and distribute the food grain. However, this manual weighing and distribution of grains is not without problems. It requires the people receiving assistance to queue for long hours, there is a high possibility of grain spillage and waste, and may even lead to people not receiving their share of food assistance.

Man manually filling bags with grain.


The solution

WFP India conceptualized, designed and developed the “Annapurti” machine which dispenses the type and quantity of the selected grain (wheat, rice or millet) commodity to each beneficiary, after biometric authentication. Annapurti dispenses one or two grain commodities, up to 50 kilograms, in five minutes, with an error rate of 0.01 percent. The entire solution, including the volume of the storage unit, is modular or easily assembled and can be put together depending on the amount of space available. To ensure food security with efficient energy access, the machine has been designed to  consume only 0.6 Watt per hour. It can also be attached to solar panels, inverter batteries and elevators for automatic refilling.

At the 2022 WFP Innovation Awards, Annapurti was recognized as one of the World Food Programme’s top 5 innovative solutions for disrupting hunger.

Man filling bags with supplies at GrainATM location.
Man filling bags with supplies at GrainATM location. Photo: WFP/Parvinder Singh.
Woman fills bag using GrainATM.
Couple on motorbike after using GrainATM to gather supplies.
The way forward

Working in close collaboration with the Government of India, WFP has deployed the solution in Haryana and Odisha at Fair Price Shops that are dispensing entitled grains to the beneficiaries of India’s Food Security Act (2013). The team is working with the Government of India on developing various features and additional operational optimizations to further scale-up the project in the coming years.

You can read more about the project in local media here, and here.

Woman scanning fingerprint at GrainATM location.
Woman scanning fingerprint at GrainATM location. Photo: WFP/Parvinder Singh.

Meet the team

Ankit Sood
Ankit Sood
WFP India Head Supply Chain and PDS Unit
Nishant Aggarwhal
Nishant Aggarwhal
WFP India Programme Policy Officer
Last updated: 20/10/2022