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The government launched the One Nation One Ration Card for providing an option to all eligible ration cardholders or beneficiaries covered under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013 for accessing their entitlements from anywhere in India.
Under the NFSA, the ration cardholders or beneficiaries are entitled to buy subsidised food grains of rice at Rs.3 per kg, wheat at Rs.2 per kg and coarse grains at Rs.1 per kg from the designated Fair Price Shops (FPS) under the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS).
Before introducing the One Nation One Ration Card system, ration cardholders could buy the subsidised food grains only from the FPS that were assigned to them in the locality in which they resided.
If the NFSA beneficiary or ration cardholder migrated from the assigned FPS location to another location for work, then the ration cardholder/NFSA beneficiary was not eligible to receive subsidised food grains from an FPS in the migrated location.
Upon introduction of the One Nation One Ration Card system, the condition of obtaining food grains from only the assigned FPS was removed, and the NFSA beneficiaries/ration cardholders can buy the subsidised food grains from any FPS across the country.
The One Nation One Ration Card system also allows the family members back home of the NFSA beneficiaries or ration cardholders to claim the balance foodgrains on the same ration card. The migrant workers staying away from their families can partially claim their ration from their location, while their family members in their native place can claim the rest of the ration.
The One Nation One Ration Card allows all the NFSA beneficiaries/ration cardholders, particularly the migrant NFSA beneficiaries/ration cardholders, for claiming either whole or part of the foodgrains from any FPS situated anywhere in the country through an existing ration card with biometric or Aadhaar authentication in a seamless manner.
Under the One Nation One Ration Card system, the distribution of highly subsidised food grains is achieved through the nation-wide portability of ration cards. The nation-wide portability is enabled through the implementation of an IT-driven system by installing the seeding of Aadhaar number of beneficiaries with their ration cards, ePoS (Point of Sale) devices in FPSs and operationalisation of biometrically authenticated ePoS transactions in the State/UTs.
The NFSA beneficiaries/ration cardholders can quote their ration card number or the Aadhaar number at any FPSs dealer across the country to obtain the subsidised foodgrains from any FPS. There is no need to carry or share the ration card or Aadhaar card with the ration dealer for availing of the subsidised food grains. The NFSA beneficiaries/ration cardholders can undergo Aadhaar authentication by using their fingerprints or iris-based identification for obtaining the entitled foodgrains from any e-POS enabled FPSs of their choice.
The One Nation One Ration Card scheme was initially proposed to roll out by 1 June 2020 nationally. On 1 August 2020, the facility of national portability of ration cards under the One Nation One Ration Card plan was enabled in an integrated cluster of 24 States/UTs covering approx. 65 crore beneficiaries (80% of the total NFSA population) in these States/UTs.
Further, the Department of Food and Public Distribution made regular efforts to enable the facility of One Nation One Ration Card in the remaining 12 States/UTs before March 2021.
The Finance Minister, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman announced that the One Nation One Ration Card is being implemented by 32 States and UTs, reaching about 69 crore beneficiaries while announcing the Union Budget 2021.
The Finance Minister also stated that the One Nation One Ration Card scheme had covered 86% of the beneficiaries. The remaining four States/UTs would be integrated into this scheme in the coming few months. As of 11 March 2021, 17 States and UTs had successfully onboarded the inter-state portability of ration cards under the NFSA.