Assam has become the 36th State/UT to implement One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC).
- With this, the ONORC plan is successfully implemented in all the 36 states/UTs, making food security portable throughout the country.
- Another dimension under ONORC plan is the ‘MERA RATION’ mobile application which has been rolled out to take maximum advantage of the ONORC plan. The mobile app is providing a host of useful real time information to the beneficiaries and is available in 13 languages.
What is One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC)?
- It was initiated in August 2019. During the last two years of COVID-19 pandemic, ONORC plan has significantly contributed in ensuring subsidised foodgrains to NFSA (National Food Security Act) beneficiaries, especially migrant beneficiaries.
- The ONORC scheme is aimed at enabling migrant workers and their family members to buy subsidised ration from any fair price shop anywhere in the country under the National Food Security Act, 2013.
- While the person can buy foodgrains as per his or her entitlement under the NFSA at the place where he or she is based, members of his or her family can still go to their ration dealer back home.
- To promote this reform in the archaic Public Distribution System (PDS), the government has provided incentives to states. The Centre had even set the implementation of ONORC as a precondition for additional borrowing by states during the Covid-19 pandemic last year. At least 17 states, which implemented the ONORC reform, were allowed to borrow an additional Rs 37,600 crores in 2020-21.
How does ONORC work?
- ONORC is based on technology that involves details of beneficiaries’ ration card, Aadhaar number, and electronic Points of Sale (ePoS).
- The system identifies a beneficiary through biometric authentication on ePoS devices at fair price shops. The system runs with the support of two portals —Integrated Management of Public Distribution System (IM-PDS) (impds.nic.in) and Annavitran (annavitran.nic.in), which host all the relevant data.
- When a ration card holder goes to a fair price shop, he or she identifies himself or herself through biometric authentication on ePoS, which is matched real time with details on the Annavitaran portal.
- Once the ration card details are verified, the dealer hands out the beneficiary’s entitlements. While the Annavitaran portal maintains a record of intra-state transactions — inter-district and intra-district — the IM-PDS portal records the inter-state transactions.