Digitisation to improve procurement, distribution of food grain: Paswan

New Delhi, Jan 19 (IANS) Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan on Thursday said the shift towards digitisation will help improve the efficiency of procurement, storage and distribution of food grain.

“The shift towards digital payments is an immense opportunity since it is in strategic alignment with my ministry’s work to improve the efficiency of procurement, storage and distribution of food grain,” an official release quoted Paswan as saying.

He made the remarks after inaugurating the National Conference of State Food Ministers and Secretaries of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs here.

According to the ministry, digitisation of ration cards and beneficiaries’ data was completed in all 36 states and union territories (UT). Digitised details of 23 crore ration cards were available on transparency portals of all states and UTs.

It said 72.32 per cent (16.62 crore) ration cards were seeded with Aadhaar to enable better targeting of food subsidies. Online allocation of food grain had started in 29 states and UTs.

According to the ministry, the other features included completion of automation of supply chains in 20 states and UTs, implementation of Direct Benefit Transfer in three UTs and automation of over 1.78 lakh fair price shops.

Paswan also reviewed the state-wise progress in the implementation of Cashless Public Distribution System (CPDS) and end-to-end computerisation.

Union Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution C.R. Chaudhary sought to ensure 100 per cent digital payments in the wake of demonetisation, as per the release.

Chaudhary lauded the Andhra Pradesh government for leading cashless reforms and becoming the first state in the country to have introduced digital payments under hte PDS.

Paswan appreciated the adoption of National Food Security Act in all states and UTs and urged them to complete the pending PDS reforms by the end of March 2017.