Digitizing Public Distribution System – Ration Cards
The recent news about successful nationwide digitization of ration cards could be an important milestone in the Indian digital landscape. For perhaps the first time in India, a citizen can avail of multiple government services completely digitally: ration card is linked to Aadhar card which in turn is linked to the PAN card and driver’s license and these in turn are linked to the person’s residence proof. Each of these cards are needed to avail of different services: ration card for obtaining items from the public distribution system (PDS), Aadhar card for opening bank accounts, and PAN card for paying taxes.
The supply chain scenario with digitized ration card changes the workflow completely: now a citizen will go to the PDS, show her digital ration card to the PDS officer, who will swipe the ration card on the card reader which will communicate with the server and display the information regarding the citizen’s allotment to the PDS officer who will then dispense the items to the citizen. The dispensed amounts will be logged into the PDS system, the cost of the items dispensed will be debited from the citizen’s bank account electronically, and the PDS system will automatically update the supply requirements to this PDS location. In this scenario no paper was used for obtaining PDS services - except perhaps the bags used to carry items from the PDS! All transactions were digital which reduces considerably the scope for spillage.
One might wonder what happens if the person who presents the card at the PDS location is not the owner of the card? A simple solution would be to link the PDS card with a PIN that only the owner is aware of and when the citizen swipes the card at the PDS location the citizen should also enter the PIN (similar to debit card transactions currently); another option is to use biometric authentication at the PDS location since the PDS card is linked with Aadhar. Another possibility is that the amount of items sold is incorrectly entered into the PDS system by the PDS officer - however, the electronic reconciliation process will quickly detect this mismatch. Likewise it is impossible to enter wrong amounts into the system since cash transaction can be avoided. These steps reduce the possibility for generating illegal incomes and hoarding. India is headed firmly into the fourth industrial revolution wherein digitization is the way of life and paper almost completely avoidable. Such a trend is already evident by widespread use of smartphone, websites, and e-commerce - a person can almost go through ones entire day without using a single piece of paper either for recording data, purchasing ticket, or using currency.
With more and more devices being IP-enabled such as landlines, refrigerators, cars, watches, trucks, buses, and so on we are moving deeper into the digitization era and the fourth industrial revolution is very much upon us. However, in order to fully realize the scale of economies made possible by the fourth industrial revolution, the mountains of physical documents currently in existence need to be first digitized so that people can be completely weaned away from the paper world. One of the most important software systems for storing digital documents is the Document Management System (DMS). dMACQ® DMS is used for precisely this purpose - store documents in the electronic form for easy retrieval and managed access, and dMACQ® provides digitization services as well. We hope the use of DMS and its scaled-up version, the ECM (Enterprise Content Management) system, are adopted by more and more entities for realizing the full benefits of digitization and improving the environment. dMACQ® is a proud participant in the digitization of ration cards and linking it with Aadhar cards. We hope to contribute in a small but significant way to the cause of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
 http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Digitization-helps-govt-weed-out-1-6-crore-fake-ration-cards-plug-foodgrain-leak/articleshow/52275070.cms dated May 15, 2016
 https://www.weforum.org/pages/the-fourth-industrial-revolution-by-klaus-schwab/ dated May 16, 2016