ePDS — Tech-based public distribution system in Rajasthan

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The Public Distribution System (PDS) is a national food security system established by the Government of India under the Ministry of Food and Consumer Affairs managed jointly with State Governments. The Rajasthan Government has taken a number of new initiatives to remove corruption, improve the efficiency, and deliver higher number of products through ePDS (electronic Public Distribution System), observes Elets News Network (ENN).

Among the initiatives launched by the State government, distribution of both PDS and non-PDS items, Aadhaar-based identification of beneficiary and PPP in Public Distribution System could be described as the important endeavours in this regard. Such a mechanism also helps in reducing the diversion of food grains by enabling authentication of beneficiaries through linkage to Aadhaar and biometric details, accurate recording of the quantity of grains sold to beneficiaries through the integrated weighing machine, and uploading of transaction data to a central server.

Aadhaar-based identification of beneficiary

To curb corruption and minimise PDS system’s leakages rampant in the entire distribution cycle, the Rajasthan Government has initiated the transition from the older ration card-based system to the one based on biometric identification using Aadhaar. Under this, electronic ‘Point of Sale’ (PoS) machines have been installed at PDS shops. The beneficiaries now receive entitlements only after verifying through biometric fingerprints against the Aadhaar database. The whole process of moving the social security schemes to a digital mode is being facilitated through an umbrella card called “Bhamashah”, which uses the Aadhaar database. This process also serves the purpose of weeding out duplicate PDS cards in the system and preventing the creation of new ones in the future.

ePDS Primary objective: Targeted delivery of PDS benefits with biometric beneficiary Validation Delivery through lightweight hand-held Point of Sale (PoS) devices, using GPRS connectivity, at all fair price shops (around 26,500) Identification/validation of the beneficiary through Aadhaar biometric Complete stopping/avoiding proxy withdrawals and addressing diversions and leakages PoS can be used for other departmental interfaces as well

People Speak

In the words of one of the beneficiaries of the scheme… Sunita Devi, 38, a resident of Ajmer

“Thanks to Bhamashah-enabled ePDS food distribution system, my entire process of securing food grain from a PDS shop has now become so hassle free. It’s certainly a very easy now and it is saving my lot of time and energy which was not the case earlier.

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