Assam has finally operationalised the ration card portability service and with this, the Centre's 'One Nation, One Ration Card' programme is implemented across the country, the food ministry said on Tuesday. Assam has become the 36th State to implement the One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC) scheme.
Under the ONORC (One Nation, One Ration Card), beneficiaries covered under the National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA) can get their quota of subsidised food grains from any electronic point of sale device (ePoS)-enabled fair price shops of their choice by using their existing ration cards with biometric authentication.
During the last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ONORC plan has significantly contributed to ensuring subsidized food grains for National Food Security Act (NFSA) beneficiaries, especially migrant beneficiaries. This is a 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, by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution said in a statement today.
The objective of this beneficiary centric high-impact program is to empower all NFSA beneficiaries to become Atma Nirbhar for their food security anywhere in the country, through the portability of their existing ration cards enabling them to seamlessly lift their entitled subsidized food grains (in part or full) from any Fair Price Shop of their choice. This also enables their family members to lift the balance/required amount of food grains on the same ration card at their native/ any place from the FPS of their choice.
Since 2019, about 71 crore portable transactions have taken place delivering food grains equivalent to about Rs 40,000 crore in food subsidy through portability.
At present, 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, it said.
During the COVID-19 period from April 2020 till date, the ministry said about 64 crore portable transactions have been recorded, 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 were recorded under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), announced in March 2020 for the distribution of additional free food grains to NFSA beneficiaries to mitigate the Covid-induced hardships.
The government has also rolled out the 'MERA RATION' mobile application 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.
The ONORC scheme is basically the nationalising of the ration card using Aadhaar seeding, enabling the beneficiary to purchase food grains from any fair price shop in the country, assuring the claim to food security irrespective of where the beneficiary resides.
Image source: PTI