One-Hackathon, Online Global Challenge. Theme 1: Public distribution system

Vatebra Tech Hub will be hosting One- Hackathon- Online Globa Challenge on August 8-9.

“One Hackathon” is an Online Global Challenge that is commonly formatted in 24 hours style to bring out solutions for post Covid-19. Expectations from the hackathon are for participants to build a product, design a business model and provide reasonable next steps for the startups.

Public distribution system is a government-sponsored chain of shops entrusted with the work of distributing basic food and non-food commodities to the needy sections of the society at very cheap prices.

India’s Public Distribution System (PDS) is the largest distribution network of its kind in the world. PDS was introduced around World War II as a war-time rationing measure. Before the 1960s, distribution through PDS was generally dependant on imports of food grains.

Importance of Public Distribution System.

The Public Distribution System contributes significantly in the provision of food security. It has helped in stabilizing food prices and making food available to the poor at affordable prices. It maintains the buffer stock of food grains in the warehouse so that the flow of food remains active even during the period of less agricultural food production. It also helps to control open – market prices for commodities that are distributed through the system.

Objectives of Public distribution system:

  1. Make goods available to consumers, especially the disadvantaged /vulnerable sections of society at fair prices.
  2. Rectify the existing imbalances between the supply and demand for consumer goods. Check and prevent hoarding and black marketing in essential commodities.
  3. Ensure social justice in the distribution of basic necessities of life.
  4. Even out fluctuations in prices and availability of mass consumption goods.
  5. Support poverty-alleviation programmes, particularly, rural employment programmes.

The following are the advantages of the public distribution system:

  1. It has helped in stabilising food prices and making food available to consumers at affordable prices.
  2. It has helped in avoiding hunger and famine by supplying food from surplus regions of the country to deficient regions.
  3. The system of minimum support price and procurement has contributed to increase in foodgrain production.

The following are the disadvantages of the public distribution system:

  1. Instances of hunger occur despite granaries being full. This points to certain lacunae or inefficiency in the system.
  2. High level of buffer stocks often leads to wastage of foodgrains and deterioration in quality.
  3. The storage of foodgrains inculcates high carrying costs on the government.
  4. The provision of minimum support price has encouraged farmers to divert land from production of coarse grains that are consumed by poor, to rice and wheat.

These are the things which should be done to improve the problems faced by people in PDS.

  1. Vigilance squad should be strengthened to detect corruption, which is an added expenditure for taxpayers.
  2. Personnel-in-charge of the department should be chosen locally.
  3. The margin of profit should be increased for honest business, in which case the market system is more apt anyway.
  4. Frequent checks & raids should be conducted to eliminate bogus and duplicate cards, which is again an added expenditure and not full proof.
  5. The Civil Supplies Corporation should open more fair price shops in rural areas. The fair price dealers seldom display rate chart and quantity available in the block-boards in front of the shop. This should be enforced.

Having this information should help you better understand the theme and create solutions to be useful in this field.

Idea Submission close date: 31st July, 2020.
Hackathon Date: 8th – 9th August, 2020 in Nigeria.

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