As per the recent information available, it has been reported that Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Mr Ram Vilas Paswan has commissioned the online system to stop rice smuggling to Bangladesh and in other neighboring countries. The central minister also urged that all the state governments to install similar online tracking systems too. In addition, this system will help in capturing data online on real-time basis and the system will lend transparency in the working of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) as it was narrated by the Minister. Moreover, it would also help in better monitoring and supervision to reduce leakages and losses accordingly.
Further, it is christened as ‘Depot Online,’ the system and will provide online various types of data regarding stock positions, its movement, and the quality and quantity of food grains. Moreover, it will also help in sending SMS alerts to depot officials, area managers and to other decision-makers. Thus, the entire data will be available on dashboard for the top management to monitor centrally as revealed by a Ministry press release. Further, launching the Online Depot system, Mr Paswan described this initiative as a historic step towards improving the functioning of the FCI.
Furthermore, in this matter, it was told that these sustained government efforts had led to significant reforms in the public distribution system (PDS). Under this system, food experts estimate that over two million tonnes of rice is being smuggled into Bangladesh every year from India. According to reports, much of the food grains being allocated to the north-eastern states, Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh, under the PDS end up in neighboring countries including Bangladesh and Nepal. So, it was emphasized that this system could certainly stop the smuggling of food grains into the neighboring countries, as stated by Mr Sanjib Hans, a Senior Government official. It was informed that by July this year, operations of all the FCI depots will go online, and by March, 2017 remaining depots, which include CWC, SWC and hired ones, will also be online. The Minister also told that state government had been asked to make their own procurement and distribution work online, too.