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March 31, 2023

Why in news?

Recently, the Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution emphasized every state to implement SMART-PDS.

What is SMART-PDS?

  • SMART-PDS refers to Scheme for Modernization and Reforms through Technology in Public Distribution System.
  • Aim-
    • To prevent leakage of food grains
    • To increase the efficiency of the distribution chain
    • To ensure the availability of such provisions for migrants
  • It is a system where smart ration cards are issued to beneficiaries of public distribution system, and ration is given through fair price shops to any member of the beneficiary family.
  • The fingerprint template of the beneficiary is recorded in these smart ration cards, which records all transactions.
  • It is an initiative of the Department of Food and Public Distribution (DFPD), Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.
  • It is a technological driven initiative that seeks to reduce human intervention and promote automation in the existing processes.

What schemes support public distribution system?

  • Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) -A food security welfare scheme announced during covid-19.
  • Open Market Sale Scheme –To  sell surplus stocks of wheat and rice at pre-determined prices through e-auction in the open market
  • The scheme is implemented by Food Corporation of India.
  • Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) - States were required to identify the poor for delivery of food grains and for its distribution in a transparent and accountable manner.
  • Antyodaya anna yojana (AAY) - Aims at reducing hunger among the poorest segments of the Below Poverty Line population.
  • AAY involved identification of 1 crore poorest of the poor families from amongst the number of BPL families covered under TPDS.
  • One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC) -A scheme that will nationalize a beneficiary's ration card by a process called Aadhaar Seeding.
  • Aadhaar seeding ensures that the beneficiary can pick up her or his entitled food grain from any fair price shop in the country.
  • Integrated Management of Public Distribution System (IMPDS) – The scheme entitles food grains from any Fair Price Shop (FPS) of their choice anywhere in the country.
  • The National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA) - Provides a legal right to persons belonging to eligible households to receive foodgrains at subsidised price.


What are challenges to PDS?

  • Lack of credible and dynamic data on consumption and mobility patterns
  • Inefficient delivery of critical central welfare schemes to the most vulnerable sections of our society
  • Gaps in the implementation of the PDS related schemes
  • Inaccurate identification of households and a leaking delivery system
  • Error of exclusion and inclusion of beneficiaries
  • Leakage of food grains during transportation to the ration shop and from the ration shop itself into the open market

What are the various reforms to be implemented in PDS?

  • Data analytics(DA)/business intelligence (BI) platforms -Centre now plans to use the DA/BI platforms and other ICT tools and technologies and deepen PDS reforms.
  • Standardization of the PDS -There will be a standardization of the PDS operation through the use of technology and integrating the same with various distribution agencies.
  • Technology-led reforms -Are expected to overcome the state-level technological limitations of PDS operations concerning IT hardware, software and technical manpower.
  • Technology-led reforms will also institutionalize an integrated central system for all PDS-related operations across all states/UTs.



  1. The Indian Express│SMART-PDS


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