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POLICY & REGULATIONS

Inter-state portability to kick off under One Ration Card pilot scheme
Wednesday, 14 August, 2019, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Ashwani Maindola, New Delhi
The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has announced the launch of a pilot scheme for One Nation One Ration Card, wherein the ministry has started inter-state portability in two clusters falling under the states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Gujarat and Maharashtra.

“This will enable beneficiaries from either states’ cluster to avail the benefits accruing to them under the National Food Security Act from any of the two states,” said Ram Vilas Paswan, minister for food and public distribution, addressing the press in New Delhi recently.

Paswan informed that this marks the beginning of the national level portability of ration cards, which has begun with the two states’ clusters, and added that after leveraging the progress under the computerisation scheme, 11 states, including Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Telangana and Tripura, have implemented the intra-state portability of ration card holders to lift the entitled foodgrains from any fair price shop within their state.

“Inter-state portability shall be introduced in the 11 states having already implemented intra-state portability by January 1, 2020,” he added.

Paswan further said that all other states having attained the requisite readiness for it, inter-state portability shall be integrated in a phased manner.

“Thereby, enabling nation-wide portability of ration card holders to receive subsidised foodgrains under NFSA from anywhere in the country by June 1, 2020,” Paswan said.

He added that this initiative shall be very helpful for the large migratory population of the country who migrate from one part of the country to other in search of job/employment, marriage, or any other reason and find difficulty in accessing subsidised foodgrains in the present system.

According to the ministry officials, “To sustain the reforms brought in by the ongoing scheme of end-to-end computerisation of TPDS (targeted public distribution system) operations and to introduce new reforms, the Department of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution is targeting the implementation of nation-wide portability in distribution of subsidised foodgrains to the beneficiaries without the need of obtaining a new ration card under the One Nation One Ration Card system.”

Installation of electronic Point of Sale (ePoS) devices at fair price shops (FPSs) is the main enabler of portability of ration card holders, supported by the biometric/Aadhaar authentication.

Over 4.1 lakh (77 per cent) ePoS devices are already operational across the country. Twenty-five states/UTs (Union Territories) have either completed the installation in all FPSs or having significant progress in this area.

“Further, over 85 per cent ration cards (at least one member) in the country have been seeded with the Aadhaar numbers of the beneficiaries,” the official told.
 
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