New Delhi: Aiming to eliminate bogus ration cards and ensure that food subsidy reaches the genuine beneficiaries, the government on Thursday approved a Rs 884 crore plan for end-to-end computerisation of the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) in the 12th Five-Year Plan on a cost-sharing basis with states.
Around 18 crore households, including above poverty line and below poverty line, get subsidised ration under the TPDS. The cabinet committee on economic affairs on Thursday approved phase l of the plan under which 90:10 cost sharing will be done between the centre and the states in the northeast, while it would be on a 50:50 basis in other parts of the country.
The share of the central government and the states and the union territories is estimated at Rs 489.37 crore and Rs 394.70 crore, respectively, said officials. "Digitisation of beneficiary database will help in weeding out bogus ration cards and better targeting of subsidies. With computerisation of the supply-chain, the movement of foodgrains up to the fair price sop (FPS) level, can be tracked and the problem of leakage and diversion can be addressed," Finance Minister P Chidambaram told reporters.
Digitisation of beneficiary database and computerisation of supply-chain are expected to be implemented by March 2013 and October 2013, respectively, he said. According to the plan, SMSs, e-mails, toll-free numbers will be used to inform the beneficiaries about the availability of TPDS supplies in the ration shops, which will ensure timely and transparent distribution of foodgrain.
A transparency portal and social audit will further strengthen the ration shops and ensure accountability at various levels, said officials. Beneficiaries will also be able to register their grievances through toll-free numbers and seek resolution, they said.