The Delhi government on Monday, July 19, announced that it will implement the One Nation One Ration Card scheme (ONOROC). This comes 12 days ahead of the deadline set by the Supreme Court to implement the scheme. Under it, all beneficiaries will get ration cards free of cost in a phased manner through e-POS on biometric authentication at all fair price shops, also known as ration shops, in Delhi.
On June 29, the Supreme Court ordered Delhi, West Bengal, Assam and Chhattisgarh to implement the scheme by July 31. In 2018, the Delhi government had suspended the use of e-POS machines in fair shops after finding irregularities in the distribution.
How Wil It Benefit The Migrants?
The order paves the way for migrants living in Delhi, with ration cards registered in other states, to get their monthly share of rice, wheat and sugar from one among the 2,000 odd ration shops located across the city. The government will deploy 2,005 e-PoS devices across the capital to get the scheme going.
"Migrant beneficiaries under national portability having proper ration cards and who have been identified under the National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA) in their parent state would also get ration free of cost under this plan. The Delhi government has decided to continue the distribution of ration free of cost up to November 2021," an official statement said.
The scheme eliminates the need to obtain a new ration card for the new location. The scheme is aimed at ensuring that the beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act and other welfare schemes, especially the migrant workers and their families, get ration from any ration shop across India. Ration cardholders can buy up to 5 kg of rice at ₹ 3/kg, wheat at ₹ 2/kg, and coarse grains at ₹ 1/kg per month, as mandated under the National Food Security Act passed in 2013.
How Does The System Vary From The Previous One?
Under the previous system, migrants had to apply for new ration cards at their new locations if they wanted to buy subsidised food grain, as the cards are linked to their residing places. However, with the new system migrant workers can avail the benefits anywhere.
Seventeen states have successfully implemented the ONOROC . The other states that have implemented the scheme are Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Haryana, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura and Uttar Pradesh.
What Had the Supreme Court Said In Its Order?
On June 29, the Supreme Court had said in its order that a government cannot 'abdicate' its duties to feed migrant workers, especially during a pandemic, merely because they did not have ration cards. The court pointed out that there are a large number of such migrants who do not have any card.
"Their above disability is due to their poverty and lack of education. The State cannot abdicate its duty towards such persons, especially in the wake of the pandemic where large numbers of migrant workers are not able to get jobs which may satisfy their basic needs," a Bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and M.R. Shah observed in an 80-page judgement.
The apex court ordered the state governments to frame schemes to distribute dry ration to migrant workers by July 31.