Computerisation of PDS fails to meet targets: CAG

closeup image of the help hey on a computer keyboard
Most Indian states are yet to complete the computerisation of their Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS), said a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report tabled in parliament.

This is despite the launch of the much hyped flagship scheme, the National Food Security Act, two years ago.

The report, that covered the period 2013 to 2015, lauded good practice models of Chhattisgarh with regard the computerisation of supply chain management and of Karnataka, which had completed digitalisation of beneficiaries and a transparency portal already in place.

With regard to Bihar, while computerisation of supply chain management of foodgrains was implemented, the online entry of store issue orders could not be checked at all warehouses due to non-availability of system/laptop, internet and electricity connection.

Even for Delhi, supply of household wise allocation of foodgrains of three selected fair price shops showed that data of 170 households was not completely digitised. The Delhi government did not provide the requisite information for detailed analysis by audit.

Citing test check in Assam, the CAG noted that amount of Rs 19.72 crore sanctioned by the central government to implement the Food Security Act was released to the executing agency only in February 2015 – nine months after the sanction made in May 2014.

The report also was critical about digitisation programmes in Uttar Pradesh.

No software was installed to provide real time reports pertaining to movement of foodgrains at different levels, it said adding while in districts like Gorakhpur, Jhansi and Bulandshahr though money was spent, computers had not been installed in the block godowns.

In Lucknow district, computers were not purchased during 2013-15.

The CAG pointed out that doorstep delivery of foodgrains was not implemented in Assam and only partially in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.

In Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka, doorstep delivery was being done by fair price shop dealers themselves against the provisions of the National Food Security Act.

The official auditor also lamented that even after two years, only 51 percent of the eligible beneficiaries had been identified and 49 percent beneficiaries were yet to be identified in all states or union territories.

It attributed the delay in implementation of the act to non-finalisation of a number of beneficiaries under the socio-economic caste census, lack of infrastructure facilities, insufficient funds and manpower.

Most implementing states did not identify the poorest of the poor called Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and priority households’ beneficiaries as per the provisions of the NFSA, but only used the old database for extending the benefits, the CAG said.