SMART PDS scheme: A bold initiative in digitisation

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Source- The post is based on the article “SMART PDS scheme: A bold initiative in digitisation” published in “The Indian Express” on 30th March 2023.

Syllabus: GS2- Government policies and interventions

Relevance– Use of digital technology for welfare schemes

News– The article explains the initiatives by the government to digitise the food grain distribution.

What are the benefits of Scheme for Modernisation and Reforms through Technology in Public Distribution System (SMART-PDS)?

It prevents leakage of foodgrains, increases the efficiency of the distribution chain and ensures the availability of such provisions for migrants.

A lot of data is being generated and stored every day by states and UTs.  Data Analytics on the TPDS ecosystem can be used to generate critical information about the beneficiaries, their food security needs and patterns of migration.

It can implement data-driven decision-making. It can be leveraged for the delivery of many other central schemes and welfare programmes.

Convergence and integration with the use of AI can really be a game changer for people as well as governments in bringing accountability across all programmes.

What are other successful initiatives for digitisation of food grain distribution?

Today, nearly 93% of the total monthly allocated foodgrains are distributed through the Aadhaar authentication mode using electronic Point of Sale devices.

This can be attributed to the 100% digitisation of ration cards, online management of beneficiaries’ data, computerisation of foodgrains’ allocation and supply chain management systems in all states, and the installation of ePoS devices.

The government has launched a Central Sector Scheme calleds Integrated Management of Public Distribution System (IM-PDS) To sustain the reforms brought in by the End-to-end Computerisation of TPDS Operations scheme.

Its main objectives are: Implementation of One Nation One Ration Card, creation of a national level data repository for ration cards data; creation of integrated data infrastructure across ration card management.

One Nation One Ration Card is seamlessly functional in all 36 States and UTs and is consistently recording over 3.5 crore monthly portable transactions. This count is steadily improving. It has so far recorded more than 100 crore portability transactions.

The data generated during this process has now become a tool for many other central ministries and state governments. It includes benefits for the e-Shram Portal, Ayushman Bharat, and PM-SVANidhi Yojana. Agriculture ministry envisages family-based ONORC data to map the beneficiaries.

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