With an aim to streamline the online Public Distribution System (PDS) following the launch of the food security scheme in Delhi on September 1, the Cabinet on Tuesday approved a study on the feasibility of complete computerisation of the distribution system.
The models followed by other states, such as Chhattisgarh, Puducherry and Andhra Pradesh, will be looked at by Delhi to inculcate best practices here.
This proposal, along with several others, were given a nod by Congress-led Delhi government ahead of the implementation of the election code of conduct.
“We want to go about the proposal for making PDS completely online in a scientific manner. The models followed by other states, which includes the Chhattisgarh model, will be studied. But since that is a rural state, other states where successful implementation has been possible will also be studied,” Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said.
In Chhattisgarh, new bar-coded ration cards have been issued. The maintenance of the ration card database is done through a web-based module.
This proposal was submitted by the Department of Food and Supplies, which has now been authorised to appoint the National Institute of Smart Government, Hyderabad to carry out the study.
“There are two options of either having food dispensers or taking the system online. But since fair price shops are very small, we can’t install dispensers. So we are now looking at an online system that is simple and transparent and would ensure accurate and timely delivery of subsidised foodgrains to 73 lakh people,” Dikshit said.
In Delhi, 32 lakh people have been covered under the scheme, which is expected to be extended to 73 lakh people by January 2014. The benefit of the scheme would percolate down through the eldest women in eligible families through National Food Security Cards.
According to officials of Department of Food and Supplies, online PDS models followed in Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry will also be looked at.
“Since we have started distribution of smart cards under the food scheme, we are looking at an online system whereby a person will have to go and swipe their smart cards at the fair price shops and enter their biometric number if they have an Aadhaar card. In case they do not, we will also carry out such authentication on our own and provide biometric numbers. The study will cover different models,” an official said.