Digital India pays off for PDS

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New Delhi | Updated: December 17, 2015 1:31:52 AM

The perennial gap between allocation of grain meant for the public distribution system by the Food Corporation of India, the principal procurement agency, and the lifting of such grains...

According to food ministry data, while the states could lift only about 87.5% of the rice, wheat and coarse grains allocated under the targeted public distribution system (TPDS) in 2013-14 and 83% in 2014-15, they took possession of 93% of the allocated grains during April-November this year. (Reuters)According to food ministry data, while the states could lift only about 87.5% of the rice, wheat and coarse grains allocated under the targeted public distribution system (TPDS) in 2013-14 and 83% in 2014-15, they took possession of 93% of the allocated grains during April-November this year. (Reuters)

The perennial gap between allocation of grain meant for the public distribution system by the Food Corporation of India, the principal procurement agency, and the lifting of such grains by the states has narrowed considerably in recent months, reports Sandip Das in New Delhi. This is because of the efficiency gains attributable to near-complete digitisation of ration cards and putting the PDS beneficiary list online by most states.

According to food ministry data, while the states could lift only about 87.5% of the rice, wheat and coarse grains allocated under the targeted public distribution system (TPDS) in 2013-14 and 83% in 2014-15, they took possession of 93% of the allocated grains during April-November this year.

All states except Himachal Pradesh and West Bengal have put the beneficiaries list online to ensure transparency and eliminate duplicate cards. The end-to-end computerisation of TPDS operations was a prerequisite for rolling out the National Food Security Act (NFSA), which is aimed at providing highly subsidised food grains to 82 crore people.

The states, ministry sources said, are now able to anticipate grains requirements for each month based on online data. For example, Bihar lifted only 3.2 million tonnes of grains out of 3.8 million tonnes allocated for TPDS in 2013-14. However, in the current fiscal, the state has already lifted close to 3.3 million tonnes of grain against 3.4 million tonnes allocated.

The NFSA, sources said, would be rolled out across all states by June 2016. So far, 23 states and Union territories have implemented NFSA.

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