The Centre on Tuesday said that 32 states and Union Territories have implemented 'One Nation One Ration Card' plan, which seeks to give over 80 crore beneficiaries under the food law access to their foodgrains entitlement from anywhere in the country.
Under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) or food law, the Centre provides 5 kg of foodgrains per person per month to over 80 crore beneficiaries at a highly subsidised price of Rs 2-3 per kg. Presently, out of the total given coverage of 81.35 crore persons under the NFSA, around 80 crore beneficiaries are receiving their entitled quota of foodgrains through public distribution system (PDS) on monthly basis.
"The Department in association with State/UT Governments is implementing 'One Nation One Ration Card' (ONORC) plan for nation-wide portability of ration cards under the National Food Security Act, 2O13 (NFSA). "So far, the facility has been enabled in 32 states/UTs covering nearly 69 crore beneficiaries, almost 86% of NFSA population of the country," Minister of State for Food and Consumer Affairs Danve Raosaheb Dadarao said in a written question to the Lok Sabha.
Under the ONORC plan, beneficiaries can lift their entitled foodgrains from any ePoS (electronic Point of sale device) enabled Fair Price Shop (FPS) of their choice by using their same/existing ration cards with biometric authentication on the ePoS device at the time of lifting the foodgrains through portability.
"No direction has been given to states/UTs for issuance of new ration cards to beneficiaries under ONORC. However, for the sake of uniformity under ONORC operations, States/UTs have been advised to adopt a standard bi-lingual format for ration cards whenever they decide to issue/print new ration cards under NFSA in the future," he said.
The Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) under NFSA is operated under the joint responsibilities of the central and state/UT Governments. States are responsible for identification of eligible beneficiaries under NFSA, issuance of ration cards to them, lifting of foodgrains from the designated depots, distribution to ration card holders as per their entitlements through ration shops, the minister said.
On Monday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said: "I am happy to inform you that One Nation One Ration Card plan is under implementation by 32 states and UTs, reaching about 69 crores beneficiaries - that's a total of 86% beneficiaries covered. The remaining 4 states and UTs will be integrated in the next few months."