The SMART PDS Scheme is a new and ambitious plan to use technology to improve the Public Distribution System in India. This initiative aims to make the distribution of food and other essential items more efficient and effective by digitizing the process. It is a significant step towards modernizing the way the government assists people in need.
India’s Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) provides food security to over 81 crore people every month, making it the country’s largest beneficiary-centric program. To improve the efficiency of this system, the government has launched the Scheme for Modernisation and Reforms through Technology in Public Distribution System (SMART-PDS).
This initiative aims to prevent the leakage of food grains, ensure the availability of provisions for migrants, and increase the efficiency of the distribution chain. As a result, a significant amount of data is being generated and stored every day by states/UTs.
The SMART-PDS initiative of the Department of Food and Public Distribution (DFPD) will implement data-driven decision-making, which will go a long way in addressing the deficit of credible and dynamic data on consumption and mobility patterns.
To deepen PDS reforms, the Centre plans to use data analytics/BI platforms and other ICT tools and technologies. Standardization of PDS operations through the use of technology and integration with other departments is expected to overcome state-level technological limitations of PDS operations concerning IT hardware, software, and technical manpower. Today, nearly 93% of the total monthly allocated foodgrains are distributed through the Aadhaar authentication mode using electronic Point of Sale (EPoS) devices.
The government has launched a Central Sector Scheme – the Integrated Management of the Public Distribution System (IM-PDS). The main objectives are the implementation of the One Nation One Ration Card (nationwide portability), the creation of a national-level data repository for the de-duplication of beneficiary/ration card data, and the creation of integrated data infrastructure/systems across ration card management.
The SMART PDS initiative is a significant step towards modernizing the way the government assists people in need.