One Nation, One Ration Card

  Jun 10, 2020

One Nation, One Ration Card

What is the present position about the Public Distribution System(PDS)?

Presently, the government supplies 5 kg of subsidised foodgrains to each person per month to over 81 crore people via 5,00,000 ration shops in the country, costing the exchequer about ₹1.4 lakh crore annually.

Foodgrains via ration shops are supplied at a highly subsidised rate of ₹3/kg for rice, ₹2/kg for wheat and ₹1/kg for coarse grains via Public Distribution System(PDS) as per the National Food Security Act (NFSA) 2013.

By when will `One Nation One Ration Card’ come into force?

The Government of India will implement ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ from June 1, 2020.

By January 2020, 11 states will form a public distribution grid. 

The central scheme will integrate all state public distribution systems to a central repository of beneficiaries’ details.

How far have we come towards the goal?

Already, Inter-state portability of ration card between Telangana-Andhra Pradesh as well as Maharashtra-Gujarat has begun.

This means beneficiaries living in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh can buy their quota of ration from the Public Distribution System (PDS) (consisting of fair price shops/ration shops) in either of the states. Similar would be the case in Maharashtra and Gujarat. Thus, GOI started inter-state portability of ration card pairing two states each.

In these four states, both intra-state and inter-state portability of ration card is being implemented successfully.

What about intra-state portability?

Intra- state portability means beneficiaries can lift their quota of ration from any PDS located within a state.

Seven more states -- Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Punjab, Rajasthan and Tripura -- at present (October 2019) are testing intra-portability of ration card. 

What is IMPDS?

In order to achieve this target, the food ministry will create a central depository of all ration cards which will help in eliminating duplication. Centre will set up a real-time online database of ration cards—Integrated Management of PDS (IMPDS). IMPDS is already operational in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Telangana and Tripura wherein a beneficiary can avail his share of foodgrain from any district in the state. 

What benefits are likely to accrue from the portability?

What are the prerequisites for success?

What are the challenges?

How will Food Corporation of India (FCI) cope up?

Food Corporation of India (FCI) godowns have enough capacity and have been asked to stock three months of ration in advance. The FCI godowns have been made online and the states have been directed to make their depots online at the earliest to track the movement of foodgrains. It needs to be more dynamic as requirements change from time to time and location to location. 

Who issues ration cards?

Ration cards are usually issued by states, under the National Food Security Act. Each household’s ration card is linked to a specific fair price shop without any flexibility. 

Where does one find PDS in the Seventh Schedule?

In the Concurrent List (List 3) as social security and food supply. 

Why the opposition to the scheme?