Public Distribution System (PDS) of India and Its Supply Chain Management
In India, nearly 1.2 billion people are fed 6.2 million tonnes approx., food grains every year with the help of a strong Supply Chain Management (SCM) as the backbone. According to experts, the Procurement, Storage and Transportation of food grains to various parts of India was possible only because of this all-inclusive spectrum of supply chain network ensuring better livelihood of people.1
In India, a Public Distribution System (PDS)2 and its improved version Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) was carved out as a novel system of safety net operations for the distribution of scheduled commodities to the targeted citizens through a network of institutions comprising Food Corporation of India (FCI)3 warehouses and Fair Price Shops (FPS). However, this system is fraught with many difficulties such as inefficiency, deterioration of food grains, unsatisfactory quality of commodities, malpractices in weights and measures, mismatch of demand and supply, long waiting times, exorbitant corruption, rude behavior of shopkeepers and poor service delivery. Though having a long history, it was not able to improve its performance and efficiency.4
1 “Building and Binding the Nation through Supply Chain”, http://www.mbaskool.com/business-articles/operations/10130-building-and-binding-the-nation-through-supply-chain.html(accessed date: April 24th 2015)
2 Distribution of essential commodities to a large number of people through a network of FPS on a regular basis (often referred to as ration shops). The commodities distributed are wheat, rice, sugar, edible oil and kerosene.
3 Food Corporation of India was set up on January 14th 1965 having its first District Office at Thanjavur – Rice Bowl of Tamil Nadu – and headquarters at Chennai under the Food Corporations Act 1964 to implement the following objectives of the National Food Policy: Effective price support operations for safeguarding the interests of the farmers; Distribution of food grains throughout the country for Public Distribution System, Maintaining satisfactory level of operational and buffer stocks of food grains to ensure National Food Security; Regulate market price to provide food grains to consumers at a reliable price.
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