'One Nation, One Ration Card' Scheme: Food Security Is Now Fully Portable Across India
With Assam joining the ambitious 'one nation, one ration card' (ONORC) scheme, a ration card can now be used at any fair price shop in any state to procure ration.
What is ONORC: It's a citizen-centric initiative for ensuring food security.
It was launched in August 2019 and covers about 80 crore beneficiaries across India.
It, thus, is one of the largest food security initiatives in the world.
Why was it required? ONORC helps to empower all NFSA beneficiaries to become AtmaNirbhar (Self dependent) for their food security.
Through portability of the existing ration cards, beneficiaries can lift their entitled subsidised foodgrains (in part or full) from any Fair Price Shop of their choice.
It also enables their family members to lift balance or required amount of foodgrains on the same ration card from the FPS of their choice.
Earlier, people were tied to a specific ration shop only which resulted in long queues, delays, corruption, shortages etc.
How far has the scheme worked: About 71 crore portable transactions have taken place so far.
Foodgrains of about Rs 40,000 Crore have been delivered at subsidised rates/free-of-cost.
About 64 crore portable transactions have been recorded during COVID-19 period itself thus mitigating Covid-19 related hardships.
Presently, a monthly average of about 3 crore portable transactions is being recorded.
Significance for migrant labourers: People who have to leave their families behind for work and migrate to other states had a hard time before the scheme.
Either they themselves or their families could withdraw foodgrains on a specific ration card. Not both. And that too from one specific FPS only.
This negated the entire foundation of food security for families.
ONORC eradicates this problem by ensuring pan-India portability.
Application of technology: ‘MERA RATION’ mobile app rolled out to take maximum advantage of the ONORC plan.
The app provides a host of useful real time information to the beneficiaries and is available in 13 languages.
So far, the App has been downloaded more than 20 lakh times from Google play store.
The govt. has also cracked down on illicit activities associated with FPSs by using DBT(Direct Benefit Transfer) to the bank accounts of beneficiaries.
PoS (Point of Sale) machines have been deployed to combat hoarding/black marketing which allows the sale to be recorded and reflected in real time on both the portals, ie, the government and the beneficiary.
Bottomline : With food security being one of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, ONORC takes India miles closer to ensuring 'food for all'.
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