What is One Nation One Ration Card?
One Nation One ration card (ONORC) will help in providing grains, rice and wheat flour at subsidised rates for the economically weaker section of the nation. Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman’s announcement of the ‘One Nation One Ration Card’(ONORC) scheme for the poor in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic. With this conversion of a regular ration card to the One Ration Card, all beneficiaries and cardholders can purchase subsidised food from any Public Distribution Shop all over the country.
The ONORC scheme has been rolled out by the Finance Minister on 16 May during the last phase of the Prime Minister’s Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan which included stimulus funds of Rs.20 lakh crore. This ration card has been launched in all states and Union Territories in the country and 20 states have already agreed to implement this scheme in their state.
Three Indian states join One-Nation, One-Ration Card scheme
Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said that three more states — Odisha, Sikkim and Mizoram have joined the ‘One Nation-One Ration Card’ scheme, taking the number of states and union territories which have joined the scheme to 20.
Paswan said that by August, Uttarakhand, Nagaland and Manipur will join the national cluster.
Eligible beneficiaries under the ‘One Nation-One Ration Card’ initiative would be able to avail their entitled food grains under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) from any Fair Price Shop in the country using the same ration card.
The Food Ministry aims to implement the scheme across the country by March 2021.
Paswan said necessary infrastructure work which includes upgradation of electronic Point of Sale (ePoS) software, integration with central Integrated Management of PDS (IM-PDS) and Annavitran portals, availability of ration cards in central repository and testing of national portability transactions has been completed in these three states.
Purpose of the One Nation One Ration Card
In the country, around 80 crore beneficiaries are entitled to receive subsidised food and grain under the National Food Security Act 2013. However, for the 80 crore beneficiaries, only 23 crore ration cards have been issued in all the states and Union Territories of the country.
Previously, with the ration card, a beneficiary could only purchase subsidised food and grain from the PDS (Public Distribution System) which was assigned to them in their locality. Due to this, there have been many issues faced by the migrants who shift to other cities for work. However, by converting their existing ration card to ONORC, he or she can purchase subsidised food from any FPS shop in any locality and in any city.
The Financial Minister also mentioned that for the citizens who do not own a state or central issued PDS card, they will be given 1 kilogram of ‘chana’ and 5 kilograms of grain for the next two months.
Benefits of the One Nation One Ration Card
ONORC has been in the works since April 2018. The conversion of the regular ration card to the One Nation One Ration Card is expected for all beneficiaries in all states and Union Territories by 2021.
The major benefit of the One Nation One Ration Card is that the people who are eligible to receive subsidised food grain can do so from any FPS shop in any city. With many of the people migrating to different cities and the previous inability to purchase food grain in any other city, the One Ration card can help the livelihood of migrant workers all over the country.Some of the other benefits of the ONORC are:
- Under the ONORC, all the beneficiaries from one state can get their share of rations in other states where the ration card was originally issued. Any recipient can use their ration cards at any PDS shop across the country. ONORC is aimed at providing universal access to PDS food grains for migrant workers.
- Apart from this, ONORC will also give the beneficiaries the opportunity to choose their own dealer. With many cases of misallocation, the beneficiary can switch to another FPS shop instantly, if there is any case of foul play.
- This scheme will be beneficial for women and other groups, since social identity and other contextual factors will provide them with a strong backdrop in accessing PDS.
- The ONORC will also help achieve the target set under SDG 2: Ending hunger by 2030. It also aims to address the poor state of hunger in India, where India has been ranked 102 out of 117 countries in the Global Hunger Index.
The procedure of portability of ration cards to One Ration Card
According to the Finance Minister, the portability procedure of the ration card to the One Ration card is aimed to be done on intra-state as well as an inter-state basis. The portability of the ration cards inter-state as well as intra-state will be done online through various portals assigned for the same.
The Integrated Management of Public Distribution System (IMPDS) will provide the technology platform for the portability of inter-state ration cards. This will enable migrant workers to purchase food grains from any FPS across the country. The Annavitran portal will be the other website which will contain the information and data for the distribution of food through the E-POS system and devices within the state.
The Annavitran portal will help the families of the migrant workers and migrants themselves to avail the benefits of the Public Distribution System within their state but outside their district as well. The migrant worker can buy his or her share of food grain as per their entitlement under the National Food Security Act, the family of the migrant workers can avail subsidised food grain from their ration dealer in their hometown.
The facility of portability is available in 20 states at the moment, and the number of transactions done is 275 as on 14 May according to the data available in the IMPDS portal. According to reports, the number of transactions for the portability of the intra-state ration card is much higher.
List of States Integrated with One Nation One Ration Card Portability
According to reports, the official rolling out of the ONORC was on 1 June 2020. However, at the moment there are 17 states on board to roll out the interstate portability of the ration card under the NFSA. The 17 states and Union Territories are as follow.
- Andhra Pradesh
- Dadra & Nagar Haveli
- Daman & Diu
Odisha, Mizoram and Nagaland are part of ONORC Scheme from 1 June 2020.
To conclude, the step taken by the government to introduce the One Nation One Ration Card is beneficial for the migrant workers and their families who travel to other states for work.