N. Anand

Proposal to rope in private parties to reorganise shops

Locations of shops and their working hours may change

Suggestions from consumers to be sought in next few days

CHENNAI: The government, in association with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), is considering revamping the public distribution system (PDS) shops in the State.

The proposal is to rope in private parties to reorganise the PDS shops and the distribution system, and change the current locations of the shops and their working hours. A final decision on most of the proposals would be taken after consulting consumers, whose suggestions will be sought over the next few days.

“Yes, the CII officials have approached us to refurbish the PDS shops. Currently, we are involved in fine-tuning the questions that will be sent to consumers for feedback,” Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection Commissioner K. Rajaraman told The Hindu on Friday.

CII Tamil Nadu State Council chairman Manikam Ramaswami said they were working with the government departments on several issues. This one pertained to improving the PDS by studying the possibility of involving the private sector in improving the quality of services.

“We have appointed ICRA as our consultant. Based on the preliminary report, we have sent a bunch of questions to the State government, which is under active consideration. Within a week, we will get the approval, after which, the questions will be sent to different parts of the State to get feedback from 800 people. This exercise will last three weeks,” he said.

The CII is also planning to introduce smart cards to enable consumers to buy products from any retail outlet. “If the consumer does not want any change in the format or working style, it will be left untouched. Right now, we cannot say whether the PDS will undergo total transformation or not. Private parties will come in only when it is a revenue earning model,” he added. PDS shops have to change in line with the changing times. Flexible timing and change in aesthetics may bring in more people, said Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation Managing Director Satyabrata Saboo.

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