Aadhaar-enabled electronic public distribution system (e-PDS) will be launched in eight districts of Jharkhand on Monday and across the state by October, bringing to an end the paper-intensive manual system of food grain distribution, officials said on Sunday.
Aimed at ending corruption, monopoly of dealers, role of middlemen, and taking the benefits to the actual beneficiaries, the state’s food and public distribution (FPD) department will launch e-PDS and supply-chain management system in Ranchi, Khunti, Hazaribag, Chatra, Jamtara, Garhwa and Seraikela from August 1.
Under the system, genuine beneficiaries will get their rations and information about them online, using biometric system linked with Aadhaar number. With GPS-based tracking system installed on trucks used for public distribution, consumers will get SMS about the movement of the grains.
“e-PDS is being introduced formally in eight districts from Monday. Ten more districts will be covered in September and the remaining six in October. The entire PDS system will go paperless from October this year,” said FPD secretary Vinay Kumar Choubey.
He said three modules – online, partially online and offline – have been adopted to complete the herculean task across the state.
The offline module will be introduced in areas where there is no internet connection.
“A specially designed device has been prepared for such areas. Beneficiaries will give their thumb impression on the device and withdraw their provisioned food items from PDS shops. Thereafter, the day’s transaction will automatically be updated online when the device will be brought in internet zone,” Choubey said.
e-PDS had been introduced in Ranchi district last year as pilot project, and had been successful.
“Till date, manual and online records were kept to avoid any irregularities. From Monday onwards, no manual records will be kept, as all records will go online,” Choubey said.
The online system is expected to bring transparency and end the prevailing corruption in the PDS system.
Jharkhand had rolled out the ambitious NFSA from October 1 last year, entitling more than 2.63 crore of the total 3.29 crore population to 5 kg rice and wheat every month at a subsidised rate of Re 1. However, after introduction of the Act, several incidents of corruptions cropped up.
On April 20 this year, Sahebganj police had seized two trucks, carrying consignments meant for PDS shops in the region, along the Jharkhand-Bengal border following which an in-depth inquiry was ordered by FPD minister Saryu Roy.
The department also scrapped 2.5 lakh duplicate ration cards during the seeding of Aadhaar card of actual beneficiaries. “More than 95% work of Aadhaar seeding has been completed. The public distribution system will be more transparent with the new electronic system,” Choubey said.