Tripura government is planning to digitize the operations of its Public Distribution System (PDS) to eliminate duplicate and bogus ration cards, reports Tripura Infoway.

The report says that Tripura government has so far collected over one crore rupees as fine from from fake Below Poverty Line (BPL) card holders and cancelled over 7,000 bogus BPL cards held by families.

Speaking to the publication, Tripura Food and Civil Supplies Minister Mr Bhanulal Saha said that the State Food Department and National Informatics Center (NIC) are jointly working on this scheme while Tata Consultancy Serivce is doing the data entry work across the state. The digitization should be completed in the next six to seven months. There is no information on the investment required to digitize the PDS system.

Saha has also said that Central Government has approved a scheme to cover digitization of ration cards and other databases, supply-chain management, setting up of transparency portal and grievance redress mechanism on cost sharing basis with different states including Tripura.

PDS digitization in other states

In its 2013 state budget, Karnataka government had allocated Rs 20 crores for Biometric enabled PoS (Point of Sale) machines to be installed at public distribution systems and the computerization of the food department.

In 2012, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution was planning to install GPS devices in vehicles transporting public distribution system commodities to prevent smuggling of food grains. The pilot project was to be implemented in Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu.

The Ministry had also taken up a pilot scheme to computerize PDS operations to be implemented in three districts of four states Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, and Delhi.

In Andhra Pradesh, the entire ration card database has been digitized and supply-chain computerization is in progress. The digitization of databases was under process in Assam.

Another scheme for Smart Card based delivery of essential commodities was being undertaken on pilot basis in Chandigarh UT and Haryana. In Haryana, the project was implemented in four blocks whereas in Chandigarh UT, it was completed in 13 Fair Price Shops (FPS).