To ensure fair price food distribution for migrants, the government announced a national portability system of PDS ration cards, christened 'One Nation, One Ration Card'. This will allow beneficiaries of public distribution system to use their ration cards to collect their ration from any fair price shop in the country.
This initiative is in line with the technology-driven reforms Prime Minister Narendra Modi referred to in his address to the nation, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said while announcing the second tranche of measures under the Rs 20 lakh crore economic stimulus package on Thursday.
"In order to benefit migrant workers, we are coming up with national portability of the cards. Public distribution ration cards can be used in any ration shop in any part of the country as you move along. By August 2020, 67 crore beneficiaries in 23 states, which is 83 per cent of all the PDS population, will get covered by this 'One Nation, One Ration Card'," said the Finance Minister.
It will be implemented for all public distribution system beneficiaries by March 2021, FM Sitharaman added.
The One Nation, One Ration Card initiative will help migrants to access fair price shops in places other than their home states. "So if there is a ration card holder in Bihar or Karnataka, tomorrow he moves to Rajasthan. He can take his food ration from any ration shop in that state. So national portability is being defined as 'One Nation, One Ration Card'," FM Sitharaman said.
Apart from this, second tranche of the new economic stimulus package also made provisions for supplying food grains to migrants who are neither NFSA nor State Card beneficiaries in the state they are currently based. Such migrants will be provided 5 kg of food grains per person and 1 kg chana (gram) per family for two months. Government has allocated Rs 3,500 crore for this. While the cost will be borne by the Centre, the onus of implementing this scheme will be on state governments.