"We are working on improving the efficiency of
FCI depots. We have asked the FCI to automate all depot operations to bring down storage losses of foodgrains in 18 months time," a senior official from the food ministry said.
There are about 2,000-odd depots including those hired. The FCI is in the process of working out an action plan to automate the operations at these depots, the official said.
A software to accomplish this task has already been developed and tested in one
or two depots in Andhra Pradesh. This needs to be scaled up and rolled out across the country.
On cost of the project, the official said that it would not be very high as computers are there at depots and software need to be installed, while manpower has to be trained.
Currently, there is some kind of computerisation done at FCI depots to an extent that it gives stock position data.
However, every operation from loading foodgrain to unloading of foodgrain is done manually.
"Automation of the entire process from entry and exit of foodgrains at depots would curb theft and manipulation. This will improve efficiency in operations," the official added.
Food Corporation of India, the nodal agency for
procurement and distribution of foodgrains for the Public Distribution System, has been incurring financial loss because of damage to
foodgrains and storage and transit loss. It lost about R1.79 crore worth of grains due to storage loss in the first quarter of this fiscal, as per official data.
As on August 1, FCI has 57.38 million tonnes of foodgrains stocks in its godowns.