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PM panel suggests Smart card for subsidised foodgrains

Last Updated: Thursday, January 13, 2011 - 22:37

New Delhi: Prime Minister`s expert committee
on National Food Security Bill has favoured distribution of
subsidised foodgrains through smart card-based public
distribution system (PDS) in order to stop the leakages.

"As an alternative to the existing PDS we may switch over
to the use of smart cards which simply means that the food
subsidy may be directly transferred to the beneficiaries
instead of to the owners of PDS stores," the committee headed
by PMEAC chairman C Rangarajan said in its report.

The report said that this will finally lead to a system
where there are no leakages and distortions of foodgrains and
will create incentives for PDS stores to be more efficient.

"... with the biometric identification system, people
will have the freedom to migrate to any part of the country
without the fear of losing their food rations," it added.

In terms of the fiscal burden, the smart cards will not
impose an additional burden and the subsidy may in fact
reduce, the report said.

Under the smart card-based PDS, all existing ration cards
would be replaced with bio-metric featured smart cards. These
smart cards will contain bio-metric features of adult members
of the ration card holder families.

Certain states like Chattisgarh, Chandigarh and Haryana
has already introduced the smart card-based distribution
systems on pilot basis in certain districts.

The government, in the 2008-09 Budget, had announced that
Haryana and the Union Territory of Chandigarh will implement
the smart card based delivery system.


First Published: Thursday, January 13, 2011 - 22:37
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