Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Good move by Chidambaram - Smart Cards to be used in PDS

It is interesting to see that finally Chidambaram woke up to automate the most corrupt and inefficient Public Distribution System (PDS) in the country. In other words, now with smart cards the officers at PDS will no longer maintain book/ledgers. These ledgers were often manipulated by government officers. For example, if a ration shop is given a tonne of rice by the Govt to distribute to the public, the officers would give only half of it to people and take the rest for themselves or sell it at higher prices in private. The ledger would still have one tonne given to people. Result - corruption and no proper reach of food grains to the needy.

Now with smart cards, there is going to be a photo of the candidate on the card and the card's chip will have details of how much grains were given and when. The consumer would now say the quantity, swipes the card, the corresponding quantity of item is weighed and once done the card has the entry of the amount given. Also, the inventory information in the store is deducted.

Now, all inventories of individual stores will be connected to a central server and just by click of a mouse, any central government officer can generate reports of how much food grains has reached where and how much more is needed.

This is a transparent and efficient way to give credibility to Public Distribution System which is drowned in corruption and malpractices.

The smart card would have all details of the consumer. This has been launched on a pilot basis in Chandigarh. Within a year, it will be replicated across the country. But for this there needs to be computerisation of ration cards. This has been more or less completed in Chandigarh. So, it will be the test bed. Let us not forget - there is another aspect. The government needs to train people how they are going to use such a card. But I am sure once developed, Govt will tie up with private companies to do the same. Even illiterate people can make use of it without much hassle and so hope it's going to help.

The smart card industry is very happy about this. This was announced by Chidambaram.

Good going, Mr Chidambaram...You seem to be working very actively to solve the PDS problem. This idea was mooted by Wipro.

Here's the link for the article

Hope this is successful. It will change the PDS and will ensure 6.52 crore families from 4.89 lakh PDS outlets will get food grains.

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