West Bengal and Delhi have also operationalised the ration card portability while the remaining two states of Assam and Chhattisgarh are expected to join next few months, Union Food Ministry said on Saturday.
With this, now a total of 34 states and Union Territories are connected under the ‘One Nation, One Ration Card (ONORC)’ programme, covering 75 crore beneficiaries.
Delhi operationalised the ONORC in July whereas West Bengal implemented it in August.
“Two remaining states – Assam and Chhattisgarh — are targeted for integration under ONORC in the next few months,” the ministry said in a statement.
Currently, a monthly average of about 2.2 crore portability transactions are being recorded consistently in states and union territories, it said.
According to the ministry, 40 crore portability transactions have been undertaken since August 2019.
The maximum such transactions have been reported from Bihar (10.14 crore), followed by Andhra Pradesh (6.92 crore), Rajasthan (4.56 crore), Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh in the said period.
ONORC aims to ensure seamless delivery of subsidised food-security entitlements to all beneficiaries covered under the National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA), irrespective of their physical location anywhere in the country.
Although ONORC should equally benefit all 80 crore NFSA beneficiaries, but it primarily aims to enable migratory beneficiaries (mostly labourers, daily-wagers, urban poor, temporary workers in organised and unorganised sectors, domestic workers, etc.) who frequently migrate across the country in search of better opportunities or for any other reasons, to access the Public Distribution System (PDS) and if desire, may lift their entitled foodgrains from any ePoS enabled FPS in the country through portability.
“Thus, installation of ePoS devices at the FPSs and Aadhaar seeding of beneficiaries with their digitised ration card data are the two main enablers of this technology-driven initiative,” it said.
The objective of ONORC is to empower all NFSA beneficiaries to be self-reliant for their food security anywhere in the country, through portability of their same existing ration cards to seamlessly lift their subsidised food grains (in part or full) from any e-PoS (electronic Point of Sale device) enabled Fair Price Shop in the country with biometric/Aadhaar authentication at the time of lifting the foodgrains through portability.
Further, their family members back home can also lift balance/their requirement of foodgrains on the same ration card.
Due to the potential of ONORC to empower migrants, this plan has now also become a part of the Prime Minister’s Technology Driven System Reforms under the AtmaNirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.
According to the ministry, ‘Mera Ration’ mobile app — which ration card holders, particularly migrant beneficiaries, can use for identifying the nearest fair price shop, check details of their entitlement and recent transactions — has recorded over 15 lakh downloads on Google Play Store so far.
The mobile app is available in 12 languages viz. English, Hindi, Oriya, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Urdu, Gujarati, Marathi and Bangla.