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ONDC Pilot Launch Propels Fair Price Shops into Digital Commerce Frontier in HP

This concerted effort towards digitizing Fair Price Shops holds the promise of ushering in a new era of accessibility and efficiency within India's public distribution system.

Shivam Dwivedi
ONDC Pilot Launch Propels Fair Price Shops into Digital Commerce Frontier in HP (Photo Source: @fooddeptgoi/X)
ONDC Pilot Launch Propels Fair Price Shops into Digital Commerce Frontier in HP (Photo Source: @fooddeptgoi/X)

Sanjeev Chopra, Secretary of the Department of Food and Public Distribution, Government of India, led the launch of a groundbreaking pilot project in a crucial step toward embracing digitalization and supporting the principles of Digital India. The initiative, aimed at modernizing Fair Price Shops (FPSs), was inaugurated virtually across 11 locations in Una and Hamirpur districts of Himachal Pradesh. This marks the inaugural integration of Fair Price Shops into the Open Network Digital Commerce (ONDC), a pivotal milestone in the evolution of digital commerce infrastructure.

During the launch event, Chopra underscored the monumental significance of this initiative, portraying it as a pivotal stride in the ongoing transformation of Fair Price Shops. The primary objective of this endeavor is not only to modernize the infrastructure but also to provide FPS dealers with diversified income streams while simultaneously augmenting beneficiary satisfaction.

Benefits for Fair Price Shop Dealers

The integration with ONDC unlocks a plethora of advantages for FPS dealers. These benefits encompass heightened visibility within the digital marketplace, expanded access to a broader customer base transcending the National Food Security Act (NFSA) beneficiaries, and the capacity to compete on par with larger retailers and e-commerce platforms. Additionally, the initiative facilitates a seamless avenue for beneficiaries encountering challenges in online purchasing, allowing them to engage FPS dealers to place orders on their behalf.

Future Implications and Acknowledgments

Chopra accentuated that the successful implementation of the pilot project in Himachal Pradesh is poised to serve as a blueprint for statewide and nationwide adoption in the foreseeable future. He also extended gratitude towards MicroSave Consulting (MSC) for its instrumental support in executing this pilot program.

Empowering Fair Price Shop Dealers: Workshop Insights

After the launch event, a physical workshop was conducted for FPS dealers in the Una and Hamirpur districts. The workshop elucidated various aspects including product cataloging, order servicing, and commission structures pertinent to ONDC. Among the distinguished attendees at the launch event were Anita Karn, Joint Secretary (PD), Ravi Shankar, Director (PD), Mitul Thapliyal, Partner at MSC, and Saransh Agrawal, representing ONDC.

What Do You Mean By Fair Price Shop?

For those unfamiliar, Fair Price Shops, as stipulated under Section 3 of the Essential Commodities Act, are licensed establishments authorized by the government to dispense essential commodities such as food grains, sugar, kerosene, etc., at affordable and subsidized rates.

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