The Food Corporation of India (FCI) will put all its 550-odd grain depots under an online system where the movement of grains from the surplus states to the consuming states could be tracked on a real time basis.
The software and hardware requirement for an online tracking system for all the depots would be entrusted to a private party for execution.
The tender for depot modernisation work would be opened on July 10 and the project for putting the operation of depots online would be completed by March 31, 2016 with an estimated budget of R81 crore.
However, the depot online system work will be completed in the rest of the 1,288 godowns hired by FCI from Central Warehousing Corporation, state warehousing corporations, etc later part of the next fiscal. The total cost of putting all the 1,842 depots online would be around R200 crore.
According to an FCI official, the depot online system would facilitate process automation, standardisation and efficiency of the management of foodgrain distribution and would enable real time monitoring of operations and timely reporting on grain stocks in each of the depot.
“The existing system of manual upgradation of grain stocks data in the various depots and on the transit would be done away with and through online tracking of stocks at the various depots, the movement of transport trucks would be also monitored,” the official told FE.
A software for linking depot through an online network has already been developed and tested in one-two depots in Andhra Pradesh. This will be scaled up and rolled out across the country.
A senior official said that automation of the entire process from entry and exit of foodgrains at FCI depots would curb theft and diversion. This will improve efficiency in operations of depots.
At present, there is computerisation at FCI depots to some extent through which fortnightly grain stocks positions are generated. However, for all other operations from loading to unloading of foodgrains is carried out manually.
The high-level committee on FCI restructuring chaired by former food minister Shanta Kumar earlier this year had recommended end-to-end computerisation of the entire food management system, starting from procurement from farmers to stocking, movement and finally distribution through Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS).