One Nation One Ration Card Scheme

Context: The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has approved the integration of Ladakh and Lakshadweep with existing national portability cluster of 24 States/UTs under the “One Nation One Ration Card” plan.

Analysis

  • A total of more than 65 Crore beneficiaries (i.e. 80% of total NFSA population) in the following 26 States/UTs, namely – Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Ladakh, Lakshadweep, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Telangana, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, are now potentially enabled with an option to lift their subsidised foodgrains through One Nation One Ration Card system.
  • Remaining States/UTs are targeted to be integrated in national portability by March 2021.
  • The ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ plan is an ambitious endeavour of the Government to ensure the delivery of food security entitlements to all beneficiaries covered under the National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA), irrespective of their physical location anywhere in the country, by implementing nation-wide portability of ration cards under the ongoing central sector scheme on ‘Integrated Management of Public Distribution System (IM-PDS)’ in association with all States/UTs.
  • Through this system, the migratory NFSA beneficiaries who frequently change their place of dwelling in search of temporary employments, etc. are now enabled with an option to lift their entitled quota of foodgrains from any Fair Price Shop (FPS) of their choice anywhere in the country by using their same/existing ration card with biometric/Aadhaar based authentication on an electronic Point of Sale (ePoS) device installed at the FPSs.

What is the one ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ system?

  • Under the National Food Security Act, 2013, about 81 crore persons are entitled to buy subsidized foodgrain — rice at Rs 3/kg, wheat at Rs 2/kg, and coarse grains at Re 1/kg — from their designated Fair Price Shops (FPS) of the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS).
  • One Nation One Ration Card’ scheme will allow portability of food security benefits.
  • This means poor migrant workers will be able to buy subsidised foodgrains from any ration shop in the country, so long as their ration cards are linked to Aadhaar.
  • A migrant will be allowed to buy a maximum of 50% of the family quota.
  • While Aadhaar linkage is not necessary to access NFSA benefits in a beneficiary’s local registered ration shop, located closest to her home address, it will be necessary to access the portability scheme.
  • Migrants would only be eligible for the subsidies supported by the Centre, which include rice sold at Rs. 3/kg and wheat at Rs. 2/kg.
  • Even if a beneficiary moved to a State where grains were given for free, that person would not be able to access those benefits, as they were funded by the State exchequer.

How will the system of ration card portability work?

  • Ration card portability is aimed at providing intra-state as well as inter-state portability of ration cards.
  • While the Integrated Management of Public Distribution System (IM-PDS) portal provides the technological platform for the inter-state portability of ration cards, enabling a migrant worker to buy foodgrains from any FPS across the country, the other portal (Annavitran portal) hosts the data of distribution of foodgrains through E-PoS devices within a state.
  • The Annavitran portal enables a migrant worker or his family to avail the benefits of PDS outside their district but within their state.
  • While a person can buy her share of foodgrains as per her entitlement under the NFSA, wherever she is based, the rest of her family members can purchase subsidised foodgrains from their ration dealer back home.

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