Food Security now portable all over India

by Jun 23, 2022Governance0 comments

With Assam becoming the 36th State/UT to implement One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC). With this, the ONORC plan is successfully implemented in all the 36 states/UTs, making food security portable throughout the country.

One Nation One ration card helps in providing grains, rice and wheat flour at subsidised rates for the economically weaker section of the nation.

Previously, with the ration card, a beneficiary could only purchase subsidised food and grain from the PDS (Public Distribution System) which was assigned to them in their locality. Due to this, there have been many issues faced by the migrants who shift to other cities for work. However, by converting their existing ration card to ONORC, he or she can purchase subsidised food from any FPS shop in any locality and in any city. With many of the people migrating to different cities and the previous inability to purchase food grain in any other city, the One Ration card can help the livelihood of migrant workers all over the country.

During the last two years of COVID-19 pandemic, ONORC plan has significantly contributed in ensuring subsidized foodgrains to NFSA (National Food Security Act) beneficiaries, especially migrant beneficiaries. This is one-of-its-kind Citizen Centric initiative in the country, which is swiftly implemented in a short-span of time covering about 80 Crore beneficiaries, after being initiated in August 2019.

The objective of this beneficiary centric high-impact program is to empower all NFSA beneficiaries to become AtmaNirbhar for their food security anywhere in the country, through portability of their existing ration cards enabling them to seamlessly lift their entitled subsidized foodgrains (in part or full) from any Fair Price Shop of their choice. This also enables their family members to lift balance/required amount of foodgrains on the same ration card at their native/ any place from the FPS of their choice.

Some of the other benefits of the ONORC are:

Under the ONORC, all the beneficiaries from one state can get their share of rations in other states where the ration card was originally issued. Any recipient can use their ration cards at any PDS shop across the country. ONORC is aimed at providing universal access to PDS food grains for migrant workers.

Apart from this, ONORC will also give the beneficiaries the opportunity to choose their own dealer. With many cases of misallocation, the beneficiary can switch to another FPS shop instantly, if there is any case of foul play.

This scheme will be beneficial for women and other groups, since social identity and other contextual factors will provide them with a strong backdrop in accessing PDS.

The ONORC will also help achieve the target set under SDG 2(sustainable developmental goal , as mandated by the United Nations) – Ending hunger by 2030. It also aims to address the poor state of hunger in India.

Since its inception in August 2019, about 71 Crore portable transactions (43.6 crore NFSA and 27.8 crore PM-GKAY transactions) have taken place under ONORC, delivering food grains equivalent to about Rs. 40,000 Crore in food subsidy through portability. About 64 Crore portable transactions have been recorded during COVID-19 period itself (from April 2020 till date) delivering food grains equivalent to about Rs.36,000 Crore in food subsidy through portability. Out of these 64 crore portable transactions, 27.8 crore portability transactions were recorded under PMGKAY (Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana), which was announced in March 2020 for distribution of additional free-of-cost foodgrains (Rice/Wheat) to NFSA beneficiaries to mitigate the Covid induced hardships. Additionally, as a key indicator, presently a monthly average of about 3 Crore portable transactions are being recorded, delivering the subsidised NFSA and free PMGKAY food grains with anywhere flexibility to the beneficiaries.

Another dimension under ONORC plan is the ‘MERA RATION’ mobile application which has been rolled out to take maximum advantage of the ONORC plan. The mobile app is providing 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.

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