- Public Distribution System (PDS) was started in India in 1947 to distribute food items to the poor at subsidised rates. Later in 2013, it was revamped and strengthened with the enactment of the National Food Security Act, (NFSA) 2013.
- Under NFSA, the government is obliged to give subsidised food grains every month to the beneficiaries identified by each state government on the basis of the economic status of households.
- Implemented in all states and Union Territories, PDS is currently covering about 81.35 crore persons identified by each state government via more than 5 Lakh ration shops across the country, as per the estimates of the Department of Food and Public Distribution.
What is the one ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ system?
- In the present system, a ration cardholder can buy food grains only from an Fair Price Shop that has been assigned to her in the locality in which she lives.
- If a beneficiary were to shift to another state, he/she would need to apply for a new ration card in the second state.
- However, the migration of the poor from rural areas to urban locations is more commonplace.
- Thus, geographical location being one of the hindrances that migrant workers face in order to claim their quota of grains and subsequently get denied their right to food.
- To address the state of food security in the country and combat the problem of hunger, the government has started the ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ facility.
Benefits of One Nation, One Ration Card
- The ONORC scheme attempts to address this gap in TPDS delivery.
- The scheme has been launched keeping in mind the internal migration of our country, since people keep moving to different states in search of better job opportunities and higher standards of living.
- As per Census 2011, 4.1 crore people were inter-state migrants and 1.4 crore people migrated (inter and intra-state) for employment.
- The new system, based on a technological solution, will identify a beneficiary through biometric authentication on electronic Point of Sale (ePoS) devices installed at the FPSs, and enable that person to purchase the quantity of foodgrains to which she is entitled under the NFSA.
Why in News?
- Three more states — Odisha, Sikkim and Mizoram — have joined the ‘One Nation-One Ration Card’ scheme, taking the number of states and union territories which have joined the scheme to 20.