'One Nation, One Ration Card' Scheme: Food Security Is Now Fully Portable Across India

by Swarajya Staff - Jun 22, 2022 06:06 PM +05:30 IST
'One Nation, One Ration Card' Scheme: Food Security Is Now Fully Portable Across IndiaPDS (ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

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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