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Q: Critically analyze the implementation challenges of the One Nation, One Ration Card (ONORC) scheme in India. What measures should be taken to         address these challenges and ensure the effective functioning of ONORC? (15 Marks, 250 Words)

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ONORC is being implemented under NFSA, 2013. it allows beneficiary to buy subsidized food grains from any FPS shop in the country, by using the same ration card after biometric/Aadhar authentication on electronic Point of Sale (ePOS) devices.


How does ONORC work?

Integrated Management of Public Distribution System (IM-PDS) portal, provide the technical platform for the inter-state portability of ration cards.

Biometric authentication on ePOS devices enable beneficiary to purchase the entitled food grains under the NFSA.
Annavitran.nic.in hosts the data of distribution of foodgrains through E-PoS devices within a state.

  • It allows availing of PDS benefit outside the district but within the home state.

Standard Format of ration cards which ensures an unique ID of each customer.

How much foodgrains cane be procured?

» Only the migrants’ entitlement, the rest of the grains would be procured by the family back home.


Advantages of One Ration Card:

  • Right to Food: Enable migrant families to access PDS benefits from any Fair Price Shop in the country.

End Discrimination and Improve the quality of service: It will shift the bargaining power from the PDS dealer to the PDS beneficiary. A beneficiary can choose the FPS shop which provides better service. It would also lead to FP providing better service earn more income.

Aadhaar seeding would also weed out duplicate ration cards. Process of Universal seeding of ration cards
▫ It could be highly crucial for emergencies like the COVID-19 crisis.


Progress so far:

  • The facility of national/inter-state portability is available in all states and UT’s.

Seeding of ration cards with Aadhaar is going on.

At present around 3 crore portable transactions are being recorded every month.


Some Challenges:

  • Exclusion Errors:
  • Aadhar seeding may lead to exclusion of most vulnerable groups/sections. There are any sections which don’t have Aadhar yet.
  • Similarly, ensuring internet connections in remote areas, quick grievance redressal mechanism when E-POS system doesn’t identify biometrics or when it malfunctions may remain a challenge.

State Specific Subsidies will be a challenge. For e.g., universal PDS in TN, extra subsidies in some states, more grains in some states.

Food Grain availability at FPS will be a challenge. The FPS gets food grains based on its requirement. And in situations like short-term migration estimating demands may be a difficult task.


Way Forward:

  • Special focus on providing Aadhar and linking this Aadhar with most vulnerable groups
  • Technology like data analytics can play a role in estimating the demand at FPS in different states in different months.
  • In long run, PDS system should move to DBT to ensure that market is not distorted, and everyone is able to food as well.

ONORC has the potential to improve outcome specially for subaltern groups like migrants, socially weaker sections in rural areas etc. But the entire value chain of making the system work needs to be closely monitored and backed by infrastructure.

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