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Automation of Public Distribution System

The customized solution for end-to-end PDS scrubs the ill plaguing by  minimizing human intervention and using information technology to completely automate the processes involved in this system (creation of an updated beneficiary database, stocks managements from FCI till FPS, sale of commodities at FPS).

India’s Public Distribution System (PDS) is the largest distribution network of its kind in the world with more than 5 lakh Fair Price Shops under its belt. It has evolved as a deliberate social policy that serves the three fold objectives of :

(i) Providing subsidized foodgrains and other essential items to the vulnerable.

(ii) Having a moderate influence on the open market cereals, the distribution of which constitutes a major chunk of the marketable surplus.

(iii) Attempting socialization in the matter of distribution of essential commodities. But the greatest challenge in implementing a fair and transparent system which guarantees food security to all the appropriate and needy citizens.

Technological innovations and business process reengineering aided with human capacity development have been instrumental in simplifying procedures, ushering in transparency of operations, weeding out malpractices and developing a near real time reporting mechanism for field-level operations across the supply chain. Major overhauling of the Public Distribution System by the State government has enabled the vulnerable to access subsidized food grains at their doorsteps.

Odisha is one of the model states that has been lauded for its commitment to reach out to the last person at the ladder with an efficient PDS. These reforms have aided millions escape the clutches of hunger.

CSM with its expertise in IT intervention in governance came up with the only solution to the ills plaguing the PDS, was to minimize human intervention and use information technology to completely automate the processes involved in this system (creation of an updated beneficiary database, stocks managements from FCI till FPS, sale of commodities at FPS).

As an ambitious endeavor to achieve transparency in the distribution process and ensure entitlements to rightful beneficiaries of the National Food Security Act, the State Government has developed a customized solution for end-to-end PDS transformation that draws from the lessons from the various pilots conducted across the state. It also incorporates several elements of the ‘Best Practice Model’ proposed by WFP which was developed using a benchmarking exercise of PDS reforms in eight states across the country (Andhra Pradesh, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Karnataka and Odisha, Haryana and Tamil Nadu), and builds on the lessons learned in these states.

This covers automation of the supply chain, dynamic management (addition/deletion) of ration card beneficiaries and automation of fair price shops. At the macro level, such transparency has been responsible for improved forecasting, planning and financial management. Odisha has ensured sustainability and scalability of food security systems.

Managing a network of around 14.71 lakh registered farmers, 2606 Primary Agriculture Co-operative Societies, 680 market yards, 1347 millers, 280 transport contractors, 12378 Fair Price Shops, 8.8 lakh tons of storage capacity, and 3.5 Cr beneficiaries is a mammoth task. This is a testament to the collaboration at work among various departments of the State Government, implementing agencies, private sector, academia and civil society.

Such empowerment of consumers through awareness and grievance redressal and producers through robust market mechanism guarantees proper distribution of food grains within the households and improved nutritional outcomes for the entire family. The power of good governance is hence proved to impact millions of lives for the better.

 

Public distribution system by definition is a government-sponsored chain of shops entrusted with the work of distributing basic food and non-food commodities to the under privileged of the society at an affordable price. In India, this distribution is carried by Fair Price Shops(FPS).

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