ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Does Computerisation Reduce PDS Leakage?

The idea that end-to-end computerisation can reduce public distribution system leakage has been theorised, but not yet examined in practice. This note tries to fill the gap by conducting a case study of the information technology system for PDS in Karnataka, which includes back-end software as well as a front-end interface. It reveals three drawbacks: machines can be tampered, there is limited monitoring of the early stages of the supply chain, and policy shifts cannot be achieved by technology alone. It concludes by drawing lessons for other states computerising their PDS.

Will the JAM Trinity Dismantle the PDS?

The platform known as the JAM Trinity (an acronym for Jan Dhan Yojana, Aadhaar and mobile numbers) may enable a shift from the current Public Distribution System, based on price subsidies, to the direct transfer of benefits. However, it is incorrect to argue that JAM technologies will necessarily lead to the demise of the PDS. State-level experiences of computerisation, recounted here, reveal that the same technologies can actually be tailored to improve the PDS, by contributing to reduce the problem of leakage that affects it.
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