Centre suggests modernisation to check leakages in PDS

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Mumbai, Feb 17 (PTI) Conceding that there was as much as70 per cent diversion of commodities in the PublicDistribution System (PDS) for Above Poverty Line (APL)category, Union Minister of state for Public Distribution K VThomas said modernisation could be the solution.

"There is about 70 per cent leakage in PDS for APLbeneficiaries across the country," Thomas told reporters here.

He suggested states use global positioning system totrack down the transportation, biometric system to identifybeneficiaries and replace old ration cards with smart cards''.

He also asked the state governments to seek help ofUnique Identification Authority of India (UID) and NationalInformatics Centre (NIC).

The Minister was in the city to review the PDS in thewestern zone: Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa, Madhya Pradesh andRajastan.

On controlling prices of essential commodities, Thomassaid, "The onus is on the state governments. However, we willintervene if necessary."

The Centre is likely to start two pilot projects to helpfarmers send produce directly to markets in the big cities,Thomas said.

Decision to allow export of sugar is likely to be takenin a couple of days, he said.

The minister said the Centre was aiming to boost foodgrains storage capacity by 17 million tonnes in the next twoyears and would also welcome private sector in this endeavour.

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