Arunachal Pradesh has introduced a smart electronic PDS distribution system to more efficiently supply commodities to its beneficiaries. The state department of food and civil supplies is implementing the system and will distribute PDS benefits at fair price shops in real-time via Smart Ration Cards.
It will also use the Smart e-PDS system to monitor supply chain and management of PDS benefits in the state. The same department arranges procurement of PDS items including rice, wheat/atta, levy sugar, kerosene oil for various districts in the state. It will also work on increasing the number of camps to issue and distribute smart ration cards.
The government has undertaken training with the contractor Madras Security Printers which also developed the e-PDS solution. It will introduce similar systems for distribution of welfare benefits. According to the Union Ministry’s e-PDS website, the system has been introduced in 3 North-eastern states (Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura), Jammu & Kashmir, Haryana and 3 Union Territories.
Tripura’s digitised PDS: 5 years in the making
Note that 5 years ago, the Tripura government wanted to digitize the operations of its PDS to eliminate duplicate and bogus ration cards. At the time, the government collected Rs 1 crore as fine from from fake Below Poverty Line (BPL) card holders and cancelled over 7,000 bogus BPL cards held by families. However, it seems that the system was only digitised recently, as 60,000 fake ration cards were identified in a “digitisation drive” of the PDS last week.