One Nation, One Ration Scheme

By Sudheer Kumar K|Updated : June 14th, 2021

On June 11, 2021, the Supreme Court ruled that all states must implement the "One Nation, One Ration Card" plan, which permits migratory workers to receive ration benefits from anywhere in the country, regardless of where their ration card is registered.

What is One Nation, One Ration Scheme?

  • Initially, the ONORS was launched on a pilot basis in four states in 2019 by the then Union Civil Supplies Minister Ram Vilas Paswan.
  • The scheme aims to provide ration and food security to migrant workers and their families under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) and other schemes.
  • The beneficiaries will be able to buy the foodgrains from any fair price shop (FPS), anywhere in the country by using their existing ration card with biometric authentication.

Significance of ONORS

  • Nearly 69 Crore NFSA beneficiaries, i.e. 86 per cent NFSA population in the country were brought under the ONORC plan by December 2020.

  • ONORS makes food security "portable", i.e., easy access, a determinant of good governance.

  • The scheme is hailed as a major citizen-centric reform that empowers the migratory population mostly labourers, daily wagers, urban poor like rag pickers,  temporary workers in organised and unorganised sectors, street dwellers, domestic workers etc., who frequently change their place of dwelling to be self reliant in food security.
  • Department of Expenditure identified four citizen centric areas for reforms:
    • Implementation of One Nation One Ration Card System,
    • Ease of doing business reform,
    • Urban Local body/ utility reforms and
    • Power Sector reforms.
  • India scored very poor (2.7 out of 10) in Global Hunger Index and ranked 94th out of 107 countries. ONORS will help India ensure food security and achieve the SDG-2 of ending hunger by 2030.

Implementation of Scheme

  • PDS is the joint responsibility of both the Central and the State/UT Governments.
  • The Central Government, through Food Corporation of India (FCI), is charged with the responsibility for procurement, storage, transportation and bulk allocation of food grains to the State Governments.
  • And state governments, through fair price shops (FPS), implements the distribution of food grains to the eligible beneficiaries under National Food Security Act (NFSA) and other schemes.

Operationalisation of ONORS

Aadhar seeding of all ration cards including biometric authentication of beneficiaries through automation of all Fair Price Shops (FPSs) with installation of electronic point of sale (e-PoS) devices are essential to ensure seamless inter-state portability of a ration card.

Central government allowed additional borrowings by the State governments for completion of One Nation One Ration Card System. An additional borrowing limit of 0.25 percent of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) is allowed to the States only on completion of the following two actions:

(i)    Aadhar Seeding of all the ration cards and beneficiaries in the State

(ii)   Automation of all the FPSs in the State.

As of now 24 states have joined the ONORS scheme by successfully completing the above two actions.

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