Abstract: This paper presents the results of an exploratory study carried out to learn about the benefits and challenges of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) public distribution system. The study investigates ICT infrastructure, software used, driver for ICT investment, perceptions about business benefits of ICT and outsourcing trends of PDS. The study provides an insight on the barriers for the adoption of ICT. Data on these aspects of ICT was collected from Fair price shops (FPS) satara (Maharashtra) districts through a survey instrument. The results of the study show that only a small number of FPS is aware of the benefits of ICT adoption. The main driving forces for ICT investment are to provide better and faster customer service and to stay ahead of the competition. Lack of internal capabilities, high cost of ICT and lack of information about suitable ICT solutions and implementation were some of the major barriers in adopting ICT. There is a need for more focus and concerted efforts on increasing awareness among FPS on the benefits of ICT adoption. The results of the study recognize the need for more training facilities in ICT for FPS, measures to provide ICT products and services at an affordable cost, and availability of free professional advice and consulting at reasonable cost to FPS. Our findings therefore have important implication for policy aimed at ICT adoption and use by PDS. The findings of this research will provide a foundation for future research and will help policy makers in understanding the current state of affairs of the usage and impact of ICT in PDS.
Keywords: PDS (Public Distribution System), ICT (Information and communication Technology) Fair Price Shop, Social Security, Essential Commodities.