Task Force on an IT Strategy for PDS Submits Report to Finance Minister

The Task Force on an IT strategy for PDS submitted its report to the Finance Minister today.  Following the announcement by the Finance Minister in his Budget Speech for 2011-12, the Task Force on Direct Transfer of Subsidies on Kerosene, LPG and Fertiliser was constituted by the Ministry of Finance in February 2011 under the Chairmanship of Shri Nandan Nilekani, Chairman, UIDAI. It submitted its Interim report in June 2011. In July 2011, this Task Force was given an extended mandate to recommend an IT strategy for PDS and an implementable solution for the direct transfer of subsidy for Food and Kerosene.

The Task Force has recommended the setting up of a dedicated institutional mechanism to implement end to end computerization of PDS across the country. It has recommended the constitution of a National Information Utility (NIU) called the Public Distribution System Network (PDSN) to implement and operate the IT infrastructure for PDS, given the mammoth scale and complexity of operations. The report talks of effective computerisation as a must to achieve the scale, speed, cost-effectiveness, and quality in operations, while respecting the federal structure of the country, the need for empowerment for the ultimate beneficiary and the likelihood of asynchronous rollout of the suggested mechanism.Participation of the States in the PDSN would be voluntary and would not hamper the current efforts in computerization of the PDS in the States.

The Task Force has recommended the implementation of the IT strategy in two phases -Phase I: Information visibility transparency and Phase II: Core Subsidy Management System.

While according the in-principle approval to the report, the Finance Minister asked the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and Food and Public Distribution to examine the report for implementation in a time bound manner and, if required, to seek the guidance of the EGoM for any remaining unresolved issues.

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