Explained: What is the ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ system?
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ system will enable migrant workers and their family members to access PDS benefits from any Fair Price Shop in the country.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday announced the national rollout of a ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ system in all states and Union Territories by March 2021. As of now, about 20 states have come on board to implement the inter-state ration card portability.
According to the Finance Minister, this system will enable migrant workers and their family members to access PDS benefits from any Fair Price Shop in the country.
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).
Currently, about 23 crore ration cards have been issued to nearly 80 crore beneficiaries of NFSA in all states and UTs.
In the present system, a ration cardholder can buy foodgrains only from an FPS that has been assigned to her in the locality in which she lives. However, this will change once the ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ system becomes operational nationally. This is how it will work:
Suppose a beneficiary lives in the district of Basti in Uttar Pradesh and migrates to Mumbai for work. Currently, she is no longer able to purchase subsidised foodgrains from a PDS shop in her new locality in Mumbai. However, under the ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ system, the beneficiary will be able to buy subsidised foodgrains from any FPS across the country.
The new system, based on a technological solution, will identify a beneficiary through biometric authentication on electronic Point of Sale (ePoS) devices installed at the FPSs, and enable that person to purchase the quantity of foodgrains to which she is entitled under the NFSA.
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.nic.in) 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.