Centre asks North-Eastern states to accelerate digitisation of Public Distribution System

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New Delhi | Published: April 23, 2018 1:03:33 PM

The Centre on Monday asked all the eight northeastern states to accelerate digitisation of the Public Distribution System (PDS). The move aims to ensure greater efficiency and transparency and also to check large-scale fraud.

Centre asks North-Eastern states to accelerate digitisation of Public Distribution System. (Image: Reuters)

The Centre on Monday asked all the eight northeastern states to accelerate digitisation of the Public Distribution System (PDS). The move aims to ensure greater efficiency and transparency and also to check large-scale fraud.
Addressing a two-day workshop on “Digital Transformation and Automation of PDS Operations” in Agartala, Union Food and Public Distribution Department Director D.K. Gupta said that the Union government had asked all the eight northeastern states to complete digitisation of ration cards and computerisation of PDS by June this year. He said, “After the digitisation of ration cards and computerisation of PDS, transparency and performance of the government-sponsored food supply system will improve and various fraudulent acts and falsification will be curbed.”

Gupta also added that due to computerisation of the PDS system, the infiltrators will not be able to get the benefit of the scheme. “After full operationalisation of the computerised PDS and digitisation of ration cards, infiltrators and fake beneficiaries will not be able to benefit from PDS. Infiltration of people in the northeastern region from across the borders is a major issue,” the official said.

News agency IANS reports that the digitisation of ration cards in most states, including in the Northeast, was completed. However, the progress of Aadhaar seeding in ration cards was very poor in most of the states such as Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram where the figure is 30 percent except Tripura and Sikkim where it is over 90 percent. “The situation is extremely bad in Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram,” the official added.

Speaking at the workshop, Gupta also added that the government had initiated “Integrated Management of Public Distribution System (IM-PDS)” to merge the PDS system, portals of states and Union Territories with the Central System and portals, the introduction of National Portability and de-duplication of ration cards and beneficiaries. “The new scheme would bring more transparency and efficiency in the distribution of food grains as it would improve the mechanism to identify fake and duplicate ration cards and provide the option to PDS beneficiaries to lift their entitled food grains from Fair Price Shops of their choice. Under the ‘End to End Computerisation of PDS Operations’, financial and technical assistance is being provided to states and Union Territories. For the northeastern states, the funding pattern is on a 90:10 ratio, where 90 percent of the total expenditure was borne by the Centre and 10 percent contributed by the state concerned,” the official added.

The Centre has formed an Empowered Committee to execute the ‘End to End Computerisation of PDS Operations’ and Integrated Management of Public Distribution System (IM-PDS). The Food Corporation of India (FCI) which is the main supplier of food grains and other items for the PDS has five regional offices under its Northeastern zone.

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