Food Security: The Public Distribution System

foodPartner: Vivek S, CDDRL Stanford University

Background

The Public Distribution System (PDS) is an Indian food security system established by the Government of India under Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution and is managed jointly with state governments in India. It distributes subsidized food and non-food items to India’s poor. Major commodities distributed include staple food grains, such as wheat, rice, sugar, and kerosene, through a network of public distribution shops, also known as Ration shops established in several states across the country. Food Corporation of India, a Government-owned corporation, procures and maintains the Public Distribution System.

Problem

India has a Public Distribution System with over 600,000 shops that distribute subsidized food grains and other essential materials in villages every month. In the state of West Bengal, the entitlements of the beneficiaries can change every month, and can be different in each district. Thanks to this variation, beneficiaries often do not know how much rice, wheat or kerosene they are entitled to making it easy for them to be cheated by the dealers.

Proposal

Information on the entitlement of a person can be easily accessed through a photocopy from the government.  We plan to help our partner disseminate this information through automated phone calls using a hosted Interactive Voice-Response (IVR) platform called kookoo.in.  We are looking for people with php & mysql backgrounds in order to build the app that would interact with Kookoo.  A technical partner will be available to work with the team.

With the help of a regularly updated database of food items, prices and allocated amounts per district, an application can be set up where ration card holders call a number and key in their block code (every ration district is organized into blocks with unique codes). Once the app gets the block code from the caller, it can then read out the entitlements. This can also be performed over SMS, but tests on the field have shown that there is a preference for voice-based interaction, since SMS is still a relatively underutilized feature on older generation mobile phones. Some other common problems with SMS are: the sms inbox is usually full, unused, English literacy is a hurdle for SMS, low-cost phones manufactured in Chine do not display local language script and so on. Moderators and volunteers from the field can send a structured sms to populate the price/amount info every week to keep the database updated.

Tools

http://awaaz.de/ – being used in field tests currently

http://www.kookoo.in/ – IVR platform

World Bank – Open Data Challenges for India

india-network

The World Bank has given us source material for a lot of interesting data sets on India. The challenges are based on a few seed ideas that can be built around this data. Participants are free to explore all the links, and develop their own solutions on visualization, planning and mapping tools.


Data Sources

Development Data

http://data.worldbank.org/country/india

Here you will find jumping off points to several datasets, including:

  • Development indicators

  • Micro survey data

  • Climate change data

Financial Data

https://finances.worldbank.org/countries/India

Here you will find links to data related to:

  • Lending/grants to public sector projects from the World Bank (IBRD, IDA)

  • Major contracts from Bank-supported projects (Public sector)

  • Private sector projects supported by IFC

  • India as a donor to World Bank trust funds


IBRD and IDA Projects in India: Public Sector*

Includes data on locations and results:

http://www.worldbank.org/projects/search?lang=en&searchTerm=&countrycode_exact=IN


IFC Projects: Private Sector

https://ifcndd.ifc.org/ifcext/spiwebsite1.nsf/$$Search?OpenForm


IFC Investment Services projects:

https://finances.worldbank.org/dataset/India-IFC-Investment-Services-Projects/s343-989r


IFC Advisory Services projects:

https://finances.worldbank.org/dataset/India-IFC-Advisory-Services-Projects/av9t-itqd


Strategy for World Bank Group in India for the Next Five Years

Provides a macro perspective of what, where, how, and why the Bank Group will invest in India:

http://www-wds.worldbank.org/external/default/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/2013/04/15/000350881_20130415145549/Rendered/PDF/7617600CAS0REV0PUBLIC00R20130005004.pdf

Also includes poverty projections till 2030


Challenge Ideas

1. District-level indicators base map for mapping development projects

Challenge: With the detailed district level household data available in Census 2011 (and other open data sources as they become available), there may be an interesting opportunity to create district-level base maps with indicators that correlate closely with poverty – such as households with no toilets (see example below), and plot the relevant World Bank projects, contracts etc. (in a particular sector)  to visualize the granular patterns of Bank’s funding spread. This will be especially relevant for visualizing the Bank’s work (and the work of other development organizations) in the low-income and special category states* that are being targeted by the Bank in the next five years.

Example

http://datastories.in/blog/2013/09/09/a-toilet-map-of-india-2/

Data Sources

India Census

http://www.censusindia.gov.in/2011census/PCA/pca_highlights/pe_data.html

WB Projects

https://finances.worldbank.org/dataset/World-Bank-Projects-Operations/rnku-kcby

http://search.worldbank.org/api/v2/projects

WB Maps

http://maps.worldbank.org/sa/india

Special Category States


2. India’s Open Data Landscape

Challenge: India has a large, evolving open data cataloguet http://data.gov.in/catalogs/. It would be an interesting exercise to map the data dimensions, coverage, usage crossed with the Open Data Census: http://census.okfn.org/. This could perhaps also include some kind of analysis of what data published by India makes it into international sources and what data that isn’t published may also be of interest (e.g. related sub-national data or disaggregated / source data)

Reference

http://thomaslevine.com/!/socrata-summary/


3. Inspector Crowd: Local Development Data in Action

An auto-rickshaw driver outside the World Bank office in Chennai openly wondered – “They have no ATMs?”.  Jokes apart, World Bank may still be a distant entity for some citizens. You read about it in the press but do you know if the road built outside your house was supported by the Bank?

Challenge: How can the World Bank data be made comprehensible for common citizen to track money related to Bank supported development projects in their local contexts: public and private sector? Simple, clean, localized UI – possibility to provide feedback on projects, contracts, and ensure that funds are being spent for the intended purposes? Can an application help mobilize citizens impacted by project in specific locations visit projects/share their feedback on contracts data?

Data Sources

Contracts

https://finances.worldbank.org/Procurement/Major-Contract-Awards/kdui-wcs3?

Tenders

http://search.worldbank.org/wprocnotices

Projects

https://finances.worldbank.org/dataset/World-Bank-Projects-Operations/rnku-kcby

http://search.worldbank.org/api/v2/projects

Financing

https://finances.worldbank.org/Loan-and-Credit-Administration/IBRD-Statement-of-Loans-Latest-Available-Snapshot/sfv5-tf7p

https://finances.worldbank.org/Loan-and-Credit-Administration/IDA-Statement-of-Credits-and-Grants-Latest-Availab/ebmi-69yj

References