by July 4, 2009 0 comments



Ram Prasad, a small paddy farmer who lives 22 Kms from Raipur, the captial of
Chhatisgarh, is now a happy man. Earlier, he had to travel 22 kms to the nearest
mandi to sell his paddy produce. Traveling so much distance meant that the whole
day was gone, and a lot of money spent on transporting his crops. On top of
that, the mandi decided the price for his goods, and even the payment was not
made immediately. Now, things have changed dramatically after the Govt. of
Chhatisgarh computerized its paddy procurement and distribution system. He now
sells his paddy to the govt’s Procurement Center, which is just 3-Km from his
village. This not only saves him transportation time and cost, but he even gets
his payment on the spot by cheque.

Vivek Dhand
Principal Secretary (Food)

QWhat has been the impact of this project?
All concerned officials can now track procurement of paddy. They can now
know how much paddy is being sold by a particular farmer. On the other hand,
farmers get their cheques as soon as they sell paddy which earlier used to
take several days. Now data is counter checked to ensure every process is
followed in proper manner.

QWhat was the biggest challenge while implementing this project ?
Computerizing and connecting 1577 procurement centers that includes centers
situated in deep interiors was the biggest challenge. People are now
surprised to find computers in rustic and dusty procurement centers which
earlier was hard to imagine. Centers where Internet connectivity is not
possible are connected via ‘Runners’ which is quite innovative and at the
same time difficult to implement.

QWhat kinds of benefits do you see resulting from this project ?
Farmers are now aware of their rights, therefore no one can cheat them. On
top of that, the total cost of software used in implementing this project is
quite meager as compared to its huge impact. This e Governance application
has been able to ensure that crores of rupees does not get diverted to other
sources.

This is only one side of the story. The other side is that the Govt. of
Chhatisgarh buys paddy from 7.5 Lakh farmers like Ram Prasad, converts it into
rice through millers, and then sells the same in Govt owned Fair Price Shops to
BPL (below poverty line) families across the state. Since Ram Prasad himself
belongs to a BPL family, he gets benefited here as well. He can now buy rice at
Rs 2 per Kg from the Fair Price Shops, along with 37 Lakh other BPL families.
All these changes to his life were made possible by effective usage of
technology.

Company Scenario
Before Deployment
  • Both paddy procurement and public distribution processes were manual,
    leading to blackmarketing and there was no mechanism to track the same.
After Deployment
  • The entire system to track procurement and distribution has been
    centralized, with built in alerts, checks and balances to ensure that all
    processes are being followed.

Implementation Partner

A.K.Somasekhar, NIC

This project was conceptualized and initiated two years ago by Dr. Alok
Shukla, then Secretery (Food) and Gaurav Dwivedi, then MD of MARKFED & CGSCSC.
Under this project, the Govt. of Chhatisgarh has computerized the entire process
of paddy procurement and public distribution. This includes paddy procurement
from farmers, its storage, milling and finally the distribution of rice and
other commodities to 37 Lakh ration card holders through Fair Price Shops. To
accomplish this task, the govt. computerized 1577 paddy procurement centers, 52
storage centers, all district offices concerned, 99 Civil Supplies corporation
distribution centers and 35 FCI rice receiving centers. This covers six
different organizations involved in food grain management, namely This Dept of
Food, Marketing Federation (MARKFED), CG State Civil Supplies Corporation (CGSCSC),
Food Corporation of India (FCI), Central Cooperative Bank and Primary
Agricultural Cooperative Societies(PACS).

Besides bringing transparency into the entire system, the govt. has also
taken several other steps to monitor and ensure that the system actually works.

Paddy Procurement and Milling
The paddy purchase centres are mainly located at village panchayat level. The
computers that have been deployed in these centers have been loaded with a form
based stand alone application (called PACS), which facilitates the purchase of
paddy, and issuing it to millers, storage centres and FCI. When farmers submit
their paddy here, they’re issued a printed receipt, cheque payment, and delivery
memo all on the spot. Each of the 1577 centers have a data entry operator, who
is local to the society, and has been trained to operate the PACS module. All
data from the PACS application in each center is uploaded to a central
application hosted at NIC, Raipur. Some of the centers have VSAT connectivity
for instant uploading of this data. The centers that don’t have connectivity,
have been equipped with motorcycle riders. There are about 300 such riders who
carry the data in encrypted USB drives to the nearest Internet point, which is
usually one of the Janpad Panchayats. These offices are equipped with V-Sat
based connectivity. Similarly any new version of software and delivery order
details are downloaded from the server by these motorcycle riders, and carried
back to the procurement centres.

All operations carried out by the district level offices such as collector’s
office, DMO of MARKFED and DM of CGSCSC as well as headquarters are computerized
through web based applications. Two computers each were installed at all the 52
storage centres of MARKFED, with a form based module to receive and issue paddy.

70 Custom Milled Rice (CMR) receiving centres of CGSCSC and 35 CMR receiving
centres of FCI are using a web module to generate sample slips, analysis report
and acknowledgment report.

We wanted to use technology to reduce the diversion and reduce the time
taken for different processes. Towards this end, we worked an online model
wherein all operations involved in food grain supply chain are done on
computers. We received hundred percent commitment and support from users in
this project.

Manoj Kumar Mishra, State Informatics
Officer, NIC, Chhattisgarh

Unified Ration Card Database and issue of PDS commodities to FPS
A unified ration card database has now been prepared and ration cards are
printed from it. Only those ration cards having a unique number and a barcode
are now valid in Chhattisgarh. Due to this, 2.25 Lakh fake ration cards have
been eliminated. Plus, shop-wise quota allocation of govt. subsidized goods has
now been automated. Per card allocations are fed into the computer at state
level. Shop-wise allocations are calculated by the software. All Fair Price
Shops are required to give declaration of their stocks and sales in the previous
month before issue of fresh PDS commodities. These figures are entered in the
web application at CGSCSC warehouses. Based on allocation, stock and sales
figures of FPS, the actual amount of PDS commodities to be issued to FPS is
calculated by the software, and a delivery order is issued on the web
application. After the issue of delivery order, a truck challan is issued
indicating the truck number, driver’s name, quantity dispatched, etc. The truck
challan is also generated using the web application.

I have doubts whether technology can really reduce corruption or not. But
I am sure transparency checks corruption. Hence
technology can be used to reduce corruption in the delivery mechanism. This
project is an
example of how technology can be used to reduce corruption in the
government.

A.K.Somasekhar, Principal Systems
Analyst, NIC, Chhattisgarh

Website for Citizen Participation
This web site allows citizens to monitor the public distribution system.
Citizens can register their e-mail ids or mobile numbers on this web-site to
participate. Whenever PDS commodities are despatched to a FPS from the
warehouse, an e-mail or SMS is sent to all the registered e-mail Ids and mobile
numbers. This message carries truck number, quantity of PDS commodities being
sent, the date and time of despatch. Citizens participating in this monitoring
can then check whether the truck arrived at the FPS with full quantity. If it
doesn’t, or there’s variation in the quantity of goods, they can lodge a
complaint at a call centre setup by the govt as well.

Call centre and Complaint Monitoring System
A call centre with a toll free number 1-800-233-3663 has also been made
operational by the Govt of Chhatisgarh. The complaints received by this call
centre are immediately entered in the system and a complaint number is given to
the complainer. Plus, complaints can also be registered via the Internet. All
the combined complaints are sent to the concerned district officer. This officer
has to submit a report on the action taken on these complaints. The status of
complaints is also informed to the complainer on demand. The complaint redressal
system is monitored at directorate and secretariat level for their speedy
disposal.

This has brought a lot of transparency in the system. Moreover, due to this,
the Central Cooperative Bank of Chhatisgarh was able to recover Rs 400 Cr from
farmers on the loans they took for growing paddy.

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