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Updated: February 13, 2013 10:10 IST

No rationing in praise for PDS digitisation

Special Correspondent
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This successful initiative should be introduced in north Karnataka: Congress MLC

It was a rare occasion indeed in the Legislative Council on Tuesday when the Food and Civil Supply Department’s initiative to digitise the public distribution system won accolades from all members. A Congress MLC even went so far as to demand the introduction of electronic weighing machines at PDS shops in north Karnataka districts.

Congratulating the Food and Civil Supplies Minister D.N. Jeevaraj and the department Secretary for implementing the new system, Allamaprabhu Patil, however, urged them to simplify the application procedure for ration cards as filling online applications was difficult for rural people. Raising the issue at the Council here on Tuesday, Mr. Patil also pointed out that about 670 villages in Gulbarga and Yadgir districts did not have PDS shops.

Mr. Jeevaraj said deputy commissioners are authorised to sanction new PDS shops based on the number of ration cards and the distance between a village and a PDS shop. One shop should ideally cater to about 400 to 500 card-holders and if there are more than 800 cards allotted to a shop, the DC is authorised to sanction a new one. Similarly, if the distance between a village and the shop catering to it is more than 3 km, a new one could be sanctioned, he said.

Help for uneducated

Responding to Dayanand of the Congress on the hardship being faced by uneducated people in filing online applications, Mr. Jeevaraj said they are supposed to give details orally to gram panchayat functionaries, who will then fill the forms on their behalf.

After the online system that requires biometric authentication was introduced, the number of cards has drastically reduced — from 1.72 crore to 1.36 crore — close to the actual number of families (1.32 crore) as per the 2011 Census, the Food and Civil Supplies Minister said.

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