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PDS leakage to be plugged by digitization of ration cards in 26 states

In significant progress made by states to check leakage of foodgrains under the public distribution system (PDS), 26 states and Union Territories have completed 100% digitization of ration cards in the past one year. Six states have digitized the supply chain for better monitoring of grain moving from godowns to the doorstep of consumers.

According to food ministry sources, the overall digitization of ration cards across the country is about 92% and they expect the process to be completed in the next 6-7 months. The states that have achieved 100% progress include Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Chhattisgarh.

They added Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have recorded 98% progress in linking Aadhar while Delhi has completed 100%. The achievement is more than 80% in the case of Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Puducherry and Kerala.

“Once we have the complete digitization and beneficiaries’ Aadhar numbers are linked, it will plug the leakage of highly subsidized grains that are meant for the needy. Completing these tasks will also ensure better implementation of the National Food Security Scheme (NFSA),” said a ministry official.

Different estimates suggest that the diversion of subsidized food grains in India is about 44%.

The ministry had earlier asked all states to finish the processes including digitization, identification of beneficiaries, removal of bogus ration cards and better tracking of food subsidies for effective implementation of NFSA. So far over a dozen states and Union Territories have either fully or partially rolled out the scheme. The deadline for implementation of the scheme has been extended thrice since it came to effect. The latest deadline is September 30.

The ministry also plans to launch the direct benefit transfer (DBT) for foodgrains in three UTs of Puducherry, Chandigarh and Dadra and Nagar Haveli from September. In these cases, government will transfer cash to each family in place of providing subsidized grains. All these UTs have made substantial progress in linking the ration cards with the bank account numbers of beneficiaries.

PDS system


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