Implementation of One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC) plan is one of the top priorities of Department of Food & Public Distribution, Government of India to provide an option to all eligible ration card holders/beneficiaries covered under NFSA to access their entitlements from anywhere in the country. 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, seeding of Aadhaar number of beneficiaries with their ration cards and operationalisation of biometrically authenticated ePoS transactions in the State/UTs.
The progress of implementation of this plan is regularly reviewed by Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food &Public Distribution Shri Ram Vilas Paswan through time to time meetings and video conferences with State Food Ministers and State Food Secretaries. During the last few months, the Minister has convened a number of such video conferences on 13/04/20, 22/05/20 and 18/06/20. Besides, Secretary (DFPD) and Joint Secretary (PD) have also reviewed the implementation progress very closely with all States/UTs through multiple video conferences, etc. and all technical and administrative support is extended to States/UTs for timely resolution of any issues and challenges. All States/UTs have shown their willingness to rollout the national portability under ONORC and almost all of them have signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with this Department.
Presently, the facility of national portability of ration cards under “One Nation One Ration Card plan” is seamlessly enabled in an integrated cluster of 24 States/UTs w.e.f. August 1, 2020, covering approx. 65 Crore beneficiaries (80% of total NFSA population) in these States/UTs, namely – Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Odisha, Punjab, Sikkim, Rajasthan, Telangana, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, J&K, Manipur, Nagaland and Uttarakhand. This means that within this cluster movement of migrant workers would be possible with ration portability fully as well as partially depending upon the requirement of the ration card holder.
Further, concerted and regular efforts are being made by the DoFPD to enable the facility of One Nation One Ration Card in remaining 12 States/UTs (including 2 DBT Cash Transfer UTs) before March 2021, depending by preparing States/UT governments.
Following are some key issues being pursued with remaining 12 State Governments/ UT Administrations; and the milestones have to be complied by the respective States/UTs:
- Arunachal Pradesh: has recently started installation of ePoS devices at FPSs and it is expected that installation in all districts shall be completed by October 2020.
- Assam: is in the process of procuring the IT hardware (ePoS devices) and is planning to enable the national portability by December 2020 as reported by them.
- Chhattisgarh: is also in the process of procuring ePoS devices for replacing old tablets and is planning to enable the national portability by December 2020.
- NCT of Delhi: Recently, Delhi Govt. has initiated action to resume the ePoS based distribution at the FPSs that was suspended by the GNCTD in April 2018. In this regard, they are reinstalling the ePoS devices at all FPSs and would be ready by October, 2020. State is expected to adhere to the milestones and deadline committed.
- Ladakh: UT has already started testing of national portability transactions and is planning to enable the same w.e.f. September 2020. Although connectivity issues may pose challenges in some parts, its impact would not be significant.
- Lakshadweep: UT will be shortly starting the testing of national portability transactions and it is expected that the UT may also enable the national portability by September 2020. Although connectivity issues may pose some challenges in some islands, its impact will not be significant.
- (vii) Meghalaya: Installation of ePoS devices has recently started in the State in a phased manner, and may be completed by mid of October 2020. State is expected to rollout national portability by December 2020.
- Tamil Nadu: Installation of biometric scanners with ePoS devices in all FPSs has been started recently and trial started in three districts. Full ePoS installation has been committed by the State Govt by end of September 2020. State is expected to roll-out national portability by October 2020.
- West Bengal: State Govt. has not yet started the biometrically authenticated transactions for delivery of foodgrains. In this regard, State Govt. had indicated a target of March, 2021. State is expected to adhere to the milestones and deadline committed.
- Andaman & Nicobar: To enable biometric authentication of beneficiaries, UT Administration is replacing the ePoS devices in all FPSs. UT is planning to enable this facility shortly by either replacing the devices or use of alternate modes like mobile apps, etc. The roll-out is expected by October 2020.
- Chandigarh: A SOP has been laid down and the DBT (Cash) implementing UT has consented to develop a software application to enable national portability of other States/UTs beneficiaries through DBT Cash Transfer Mode itself, and is expected to start by November 2020.
- (xii) Puducherry: A SOP for the implementation of national portability has been shared with this DBT (Cash) UT. Deliberations are presently ongoing at the UT level and a deadline for implementation is likely to be January, 2021.