SRINAGAR: From the last four years, Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed a remarkable transformation in its Public Distribution System (PDS). Through series of innovative reforms and technology-driven initiatives, the government has successfully eliminated leakages, enhanced efficiency, and ensured the benefits of PDS reach the deserving beneficiaries.
The government’s decision to seed Aadhaar cards with PDS beneficiary records has been a game-changer in ensuring transparency and preventing leakages. By linking beneficiaries’ Aadhaar information to their ration cards, the system has become fool proof, eliminating the possibility of duplication and ensuring that only eligible individuals receive the benefits.
The successful implementation of the National Food Security Act (NFSA) has played a crucial role in reaching out to the most vulnerable sections of society. By achieving 100% Ration Card Level under the NFSA, the government has ensured that no eligible household is left out from the PDS net.
To streamline the distribution process and bring in more accountability, the administration converted 6,413 out of 6,735 Point-of-Sale (PoS) machines to online status. Additionally, 322 PoS machines were put in offline mode, primarily to cater to areas with limited internet connectivity. This tech-driven approach has not only expedited the distribution process but also reduced the scope for malpractices and ensured real-time monitoring.
With over 93% of PDS transactions being conducted online, the beneficiaries now draw their ration through Aadhaar authentication. This has not only minimized human intervention but also empowered the beneficiaries with a convenient and hassle-free process. The authentication system has also made it easier to track the movement of food grains, thus ensuring efficient stock management.
By implementing One Nation One Ration Card (ONRC), the government has facilitated seamless portability, enabling beneficiaries to avail their entitled ration from any PDS outlet across the country. This has been of immense help to transient populations and has further strengthened the food security network.
The government’s meticulous de-duplication exercise led to the deletion of one million ineligible beneficiaries from the PDS system. This exercise not only ensured that the benefits reached the truly deserving ones but also saved substantial resources and reduced the burden on the exchequer.
The combined impact of technology integration, Aadhaar authentication, and de-duplication has resulted in substantial financial savings. The streamlined PDS has saved over Rs 230 crores and efficiently distributed 1.6 Lakh MTs of food grains to the needy population.
By leveraging technology, embracing Aadhaar authentication, and implementing innovative schemes like ONORC, the administration has set an exemplary precedent for other states to follow. The elimination of leakages, improved efficiency, and significant cost savings are clear indicators of the successful implementation of these reforms. The reformed PDS system stands as a shining example of how good governance can positively impact the lives of the most vulnerable and marginalized sections of society.