Department of Food and Public Distribution, Government of India has placed a lot of emphasis on improving the functioning of Public Distribution System in the country through automation of Fair Price Shops, computerization of Supply Chain Management and enforcement of provisions of National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013 regarding oversight and grievance redressal in partnership with States/UTs. In continuation of these efforts, a two-day National Conference on PDS Reforms was held on 4th -5th December, 2017 in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. The conference was attended by the representatives from 20 States along with those from NIC, WFP and GIZ. Important aspects of PDS reforms which came up for discussion in the workshop included, seamless working of the online systems, strategy for grievance redressal, enhancing the outreach of the system to the deprived segments of the society, effective safeguards for non-denial of entitled foodgrains to the beneficiaries and viability of Fair Price shops. The participating States shared their experiences and initiatives in these areas.
The participants also visited the Fair Price shops, Godowns and Call Centre to have first-hand exposures to the innovations like equipping ePoS devices with Best Finger Detection (BFD), Fusion Finger Detection (FFD) and IRIS features to minimize the instances of failure of bio-metric authentication, integration of electronic weighing machines with ePoS devices, cashless transaction through ePoS, distribution of foodgrains for ICDS and MDM schemes through ePoS and management of distribution of foodgrains without biometric authentication.
They also got a chance to see the recent initiative of Village Mall Scheme aimed at improving the viability of Fair Price shops. To set up Village Malls in the FP Shops, the State Government of AP has tied up with Reliance Group for ten (10) districts and with Future Group for other three (3) districts.