Centre Mulls To Roll Out One Nation One Ration Card; Migrants To Become Biggest Beneficiaries
To curb corruption and reduce the dependence of beneficiaries on one shop owner, the central government is planning to roll out ‘one nation one ration card’.
The scheme will be implemented to ensure no person is deprived of receiving subsidised food grains particularly the migrant workers, who fail to use their ration cards once they step out of their native place. The said scheme is also expected to abolish the practice of people using more than one ration card to collect rations from multiple shops.
The scheme was made public by Union minister for consumer affairs, food and public distribution minister Ram Vilas Paswan on June 27 after chairing a meeting with food secretaries and other officials of state governments, representatives of the Food Corporation of India, the Central Warehousing Corporation and State Warehousing Corporations.
राष्ट्रीय स्तर पर खाद्य विभाग युद्धस्तर पर इस प्रकार के अंतरराज्यीय मामलों पर कार्रवाई कर रहा है। आगामी 2 माह के अंदर आन्ध्र प्रदेश और तेलंगाना के उपभोक्ता अपने राज्य की किसी भी दुकान से अनाज प्राप्त करने की सुविधा हो जाएगी।
— Ram Vilas Paswan (@irvpaswan) June 27, 2019
The minister highlighted that the government is trying to complete the formalities of the scheme within one year. Paswan told The Indian Express that the plan relies on the availability of point-of-sale (PoS) machines in all Public Distribution shops (ration shops). He also said that that the PoS machines are present in all ration shops in states like Andra Pradesh, Haryana, and others. He said, “ 100% availability (PoS machines) is required to provide the benefit across the country.”
The Times Of India reported that apart from equipping all the ration shops with PoS machines, the food ministry will also create a central database of all ration cards that will prevent duplication. The online database called Integrated Management of PDS, or IMPDS will be updated in real time when a beneficiary collects ration from the shop.
In the meeting, states assured that they would implement IMPDS at the earliest. As of now, the food ministry claimed that the IMPDS is operational in states of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Telangana, Tripura, Rajasthan, and Karnataka where beneficiaries can collect their share of ration from any district in the state.
Paswan further said that the work done by the Department of Food and Public distribution is vital for 81 crore beneficiaries, with 612 lakh tonnes of foodgrains stored in warehouses of FCI, SWCs, and other private godowns annually.
However, as of now, it is ambiguous whether the Centre or the state government will issue the new ration cards. Till date, it is the state government that issued the ration cards.