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One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC) system

One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC) system

Why in news?

  • The Supreme Court has directed all states and UTs to implement the One Nation, One Ration Card system.

ONORC Scheme

  • The ONORC scheme is aimed at enabling migrant workers and their family members to buy subsidized ration from any fair price shop anywhere in the country under the National Food Security Act, 2013.
  • For instance, a migrant worker from will be able to access PDS benefits elsewhere in India, where he or she may have gone in search of work.
  • While the person can buy food grains 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.

Benefits of ONORC

  • Supporting One-Third of Population:Nearly, 37% of the population is that of migrant labourers. The scheme is therefore important for anyone who is going to move from one place to the other.                                  One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC) system
  • Enabling Right To Food:Previously, ration cardholders can avail their entitlement of subsidised food grains under the National Food Security Act, only from the designated Fair price shop (FPS) within the concerned state.
  • Reducing Social Discrimination:ONORC will be particularly beneficial for women and other disadvantaged groups, given how social identity (caste, class and gender) and other contextual factors (including power relations) provide a strong backdrop in accessing PDS.
  • Reducing Leakages:The ONORC can reduce leakages, because the fundamental prerequisite of this scheme is deduplication.This will ensure that the same person does not figure as a beneficiary in two different locations of the country.

Challenges in Implementation of ONORC

  • Exclusion Error:Once the PDS processes have been digitised through smart cards and Aadhar linking then leakages could be reduced, but there have been exclusion errors post Aadhar linking as of late.
  • Domicile-Based Social Sector Schemes: Along with the PDS most of the welfare schemes and food security measures were based on historic domicile-based access and restricted welfare and entitlements at their places of origin, thus negating any chance of non-native population from accessing such benefits.
  • Lack of Data:There is a shortage of data on the population moving to other cities to work. As such it becomes a difficult task in identifying the beneficiaries as they move to different locations.                          One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC) system

Way Forward

  • Focusing on Nutritional Security:Food security should be seen from a broader framework of nutritional security. Therefore, ONORC must allow the portability of Integrated Child Development Services, Mid-Day Meals, immunisation, health care and other facilities.
  • Opening up Alternate Delivery Centres:If emergencies continue to hamper uptake at ration shops, alternate delivery channels can be considered for delivering food grains to vulnerable groups.
  • Replacing PDS With Food Coupons:In the longer run, the PDS system may be replaced by a fool-proof food coupon system or direct benefit transfer.

Conclusion

  • ONORC is the far-reaching reform of the public distribution ecosystem since the Food Security Act.
  • It will provide food security to jobless migrants and will help achieve the target set under SDG 2: Ending hunger by 2030.

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Mussoorie Times

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