The Union Government’s ambitious “One Nation, One Ration Card” scheme is being implemented by 32 States/Union Territories, which would be reaching about 69 crore beneficiaries across the country.
“We have launched the One Nation, One Ration card scheme through which beneficiaries can claim their rations anywhere in the country,” said the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman while presenting the National Budget 2021-22. “Migrant workers in particular benefit from this scheme, those staying away from families can partially claim their rations where they are stationed, while their family in their native places can claim the rest.”
Sitharaman said the scheme has covered 86 per cent of the beneficiaries, and the remaining four states and UTs will be integrated into the scheme in the coming few months. She also proposed the launch of a portal that will collect all relevant information on gig workers, building and construction workers, among others. “This will help formulate health, housing, skill, insurance credit and food schemes for all migrant workers,” she explained. The Finance Minister revealed that the ninth budget was prepared in circumstances like never before and that the government was fully prepared to back and facilitate a reset of the economy.
Under this plan, the distribution of highly subsidized food grains is enabled through nation-wide portability of ration cards through the implementation of IT-driven system by installation of ePoS devices at FPSs, a seeding of Aadhaar number of beneficiaries with their ration cards and operationalization of biometrically authenticated ePoS transactions in the State/UTs. This scheme was initially rolled out by the Finance Minister in May 2020 during the last phase of the Prime Minister’s Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan which included stimulus funds of Rs 20 lakh crore.
Previously, with the ration card, a beneficiary could only purchase subsidized food and grain from the public distribution system (PDS) 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 card to ONORC, he or she can purchase subsidized food from any FPS shop in any locality and in any city.