The Department of the Food and Public Distribution, Government of India has put a lot of attention in improving the quality and functioning of the Public Distribution System in India. The Department has provided numerous facilities such as the Fair Price Shops, Computerization of the Supply Chain Management and Enforcement of the Provisions of National Food Security Act (NFSA) 2013. A two-day National Conference was held in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh regarding the Public Distribution Reforms. This Conference was held on 4th and 5th of December 2017 and was attended by the Representatives from 20 States along with those from the NIC, WFP, and GIZ.
The Conference talked about various issues such as – seamless working of the online systems, strategy for the grievance redressal, enhancing the outreach of the system to the deprived segments of the society, effective safeguards for non-denial of entitled food grains to the beneficiaries and viability of the Fair Shops. The States that were a part of this workshop also shared their experiences and initiatives in these areas.
The participants also visited the Fair Price Shops, Godowns and Call Centre to experience the exposure to the latest innovation and technology of the devices such as the equipping ePOS devices with Best Finger Detection (BFD), Fusion Finger Detection (FFD) and Iris features to minimize the chances of failure of the biometric authentication, integration of the electronic weighing machines with ePOS devices, cashless transaction through ePOS, distribution of the foodgrains for ICDS and MDM Schemes through ePOS management of the distribution of the food grains without any biometric authentication.
The participants also got a chance to see the recent initiative taken called as the Village Mall Scheme. The Schemes aims at improving the growth of the Fair Price Shops. To set up these Village Malls in the Fair Price Shops, the State Government of Andhra Pradesh made associations with the Reliance Group for Ten (10) Districts and with Future Group for the other three (3) districts so as to improve the viability of these Fair Price Shops.