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Journal Article

A Mobile Solution for an Inclusive Public Distribution System in India  pp210-227

Shashank Garg, Krishna Sundar

© Dec 2013 Volume 11 Issue 1, Editor: Frank Bannister, pp181 - 322

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Abstract

Abstract: The Public Distribution System (PDS) plays a significant role in the Indian governments poverty alleviation programmes and discharging its social development obligations by providing food grains and essential items to the rural and urban poor at subsidized rates. While the social objective is of protecting poor citizens from the vagaries of market forces, the PDS current system has several well documented problems such as lack of transparency, accountability, poor governance and poor service delivery mechanisms. Several suggestions have been made for improvement through technology intervention. In this paper we describe a mobile technology enabled system that we have developed. We have conducted a sample survey across urban slums to elicit r esponses about the existing PDS, to understand the problems faced by users and to obtain input on the features and functionality required to improve the PDS system. This questionnaire was designed and administered as a mobile form. The SmartPDS solution t hat has been developed uses low‑cost mobile technologies and a workflows‑based request tracking system to enable the delivery of critical governance services such as food entitlements, at the doorstep of the citizen. The system leverages the expanding cel lular network to enable a consumer to place an order on a mobile phone and the entire process of PDS service delivery can be monitored and tracked in near real‑time. An electronic voucher scheme has been developed to implement a cashless benefits transfer system to reduce leakages in the system and improve tracking of a PDS transaction from the generation of a consumer request to the delivery of food items to the consumer.

 

Keywords: Keywords: SmartPDS, food security, electronic forms, electronic voucher, m-governance

 

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