New Delhi: In order to keep a check on the pilferage of foodgrains in the public distribution system (PDS), the prime minister’s office is pushing for reforms in it and has called a meeting this week in this regard. The meeting will be chaired by the prime minister’s principal secretary Pulok Chatterjee, will take stock of the steps being taken for reforms in the PDS system, which include end-to-end computerisation and use of GPS for monitoring of truck movements.
The reforms are aimed at checking pilferage of foodgrains being supplied by the government through dedicated ration shops to the people below poverty line (BPL) at subsidised rates.
Some steps have already been initiated to improve PDS which include monitoring movement of trucks through GPS. Some states like Chhattisgarh have already done it and this is showing positive results, the sources said, noting that the Centre wants other states to replicate them as part of adopting the best practices.
The benefit of GPS monitoring is also that SMS service could be used for informing those availing of the PDS foodgrains once the commodity is delivered to the ration shops.
This is necessary as it has been found that in many cases, ration shop owners mislead the intended beneficiaries about the supplies, the sources said.
To check misuse of PDS, the government is also exploring the option of direct cash transfers to the beneficiaries. The government feels this is possible at least in cities.
Besides Chhattisgarh, Gujarat has also undertaken “good reforms” in the PDS system, the sources noted, adding Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka are also doing it.