End-to-end technology solution for digitisation of Public Distribution System


In line with the Union government’s roadmap to computerise three lakh out of the over five lakh ration shops in the country by March next year, State governments are in different stages of digitising the database of lakhs of beneficiaries and the commodity transaction processes. The aim is to bring in efficiency and transparency in the public distribution supply that is prone to leakages and misuse.

Bosch, one of the largest German companies in India, has developed an end-to-end technology solution for the digitisation of the vast Public Distribution System. The company has developed technologies for the front-end at the fair price shop; for the back-end that sits in the Civil Supplies department; and for the dashboard to keep track of all transactions.

“Each State has its own different requirements for PDS supplies. So, we have developed the solution in such a manner that it’s easily customisable,” said Dhiraj Wali, Vice-President, Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions. A pilot was run for three months in Kerala and Orissa.

For mobile devices

One of the unique features of the solution is that it’s for the mobile devices that use the more popular Android operating system. “The existing PoS has many technological limitations. A mobile device, on the other hand, offers many advantages like ability to scale by adding more and more features,” said Mr Wali.

“If the outlets go in for the mobile technology, fair price shops can become multifunctional. They can be used to distribute not only rice, wheat etc., but also the benefits of government welfare schemes. And, even for booking bus and train tickets, may be,” he said.

How ePDS works

The workflow is simple. The customer shows the ration card at the outlet. The shopkeeper scans the barcode; or, if that doesn’t work, enters the ration card number into the system, which then shows the number of beneficiaries listed in the card.

The person who has come to collect the ration, does a biometric verification, which is done in real time at the back-end. If biometric authentication doesn’t work, there is an option for one-time-password sent to the registered mobile number. The system then will display various data like how much of quota can be availed and what is the balance available.

After collecting the provisions, the customer gets a receipt and pays the money.

In case there is no data connectivity, there an offline mode as well, wherein the credentials of the buyer are captured and verified locally, and later synced with the back-end when connectivity is established.

The dashboard at the Civil Supplies department, shows the breakup of different commodities, the quantities etc. Through the NIC channel, the Central govermment too will have access to this data.

Secure and future proof

In order to prevent misuse of the device, it can be remotely controlled, managed and even tracked. The authorities can decide for what the device can be used. There is a training module embedded in the system to help self-learning.

Mr. Wali said while on one side digitisation prevents possibilities of corruption, on the other side, the mobile platform offers an opportunity to the government to provide incentives to fair price shop owners to make use of the flexible system to operationalise additional functions.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 6:23:58 PM |

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