Food security through ICT in Odisha
Supported by Ericsson India Global Services Ltd.
Seen in picture (from left to right): Mr. Amitabh Ray, MD -Ericsson India Global Services, Mr. P.K. Mohapatra, Agriculture Production Commissioner-cum-Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Odisha, Mr. Bishow Parajuli, Representative and Country Director, UN WFP.
Strengthening the government’s food-based social safety, one of the largest in the world, can significantly increase access to adequate and nutritious food for the most vulnerable people. However, as various studies and reports indicate that not more than 53 percent of the food grains reach the intended beneficiaries.
The Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) in Odisha serves over 30 million beneficiaries. An analysis of the supply chain for the project indicated that procurement and distribution were not efficiently aligned. This resulted in overstocking, delays, deterioration of quality, and other factors that affect supply and quality of commodities.
It was felt that making the distribution system efficient through innovative and context driven solutions at different levels would strengthen delivery to beneficiaries ensuring food security.
The WFP Trust for India, through WFP India, supported by Ericsson India Global Services Ltd, worked in collaboration with the Odisha government to reform the Supply Chain Management System and Paddy Procurement Automation System focusing on aspects like providing real-time information and reducing loss of food grains.
One of the overarching focuses of the project was improving transparency and strengthening decision-making through the institutionalisation of a transparency and data analytics portal.
The interventions had a direct impact on the ground as approximately 10,000 government stakeholders were connected to millions relying on the TPDS system, giving them access to subsidized grains promptly as per their entitlement.
The partnership has demonstrated the use of information and communication technology towards ensuring food security in Odisha. This has been a unique intervention and an example of the impact a strong public-private partnership can bring.
The food value chain in India is critical to ensure that communities categorised as vulnerable or below the poverty line have access to their entitlements through an efficient and transparent system that enable the government’s investments to achieve the intended purpose.
One of the driving purposes of the collaboration was to create a scalable model that can be implemented in other parts of India. The work was undertaken under this project and its learning has been appreciated by the Government of Odisha and the Department of Food and Public Distribution, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Government of India.