One Nation, One Ration Card


    In News

    • Recently, the Union Government has claimed that the ambitious scheme of the One Nation-One Ration Card across the country has brought a lot of relief to the poor.


    • Background: 
      • The Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana launched to:
        • Ameliorate the hardships faced by the poor due to economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic and 
        • To minimize its impact on food security
    • Progress of ONORC:
      • More spread: Now the scheme has been rolled out in all 36 States/UTs, which includes about 80 crore NFSA beneficiaries i.e. about 100 percent of the country’s NFSA population. 
      • Better reach: 
        • Since the launch of the ONORC scheme in Aug-2019, more than 93 crore portability transactions have been registered under the scheme, in which more than 177 LMT food grains have been distributed. 
        • During the year 2022, 39 crore portability transactions were done in 11 months, in which more than 80 LMT food grains have been distributed including inter-state and intra-state portability transactions of NFSA and PMGKAY.
    • Achievements:
      • Through Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana (PMGKAY), the Central Government has provided free food grains to the poor, worth Rs 3.90 lakh crore, 
    • In March 2020, the distribution of additional free-of-cost foodgrains (Rice/Wheat) to about 80 Crore National Food Security Act (NFSA), Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) & Priority Households (PHH) beneficiaries at the scale of 5 Kg per person per month under the PM Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana (PM-GKAY).
      • The 7th Phase (October-December, 2022) of PMGKAY is ongoing in the States/UTs.
    • Various schemes including One Nation-One Ration Card, distribution of fortified rice, targeted public distribution and other schemes of the Center are being extended to all the beneficiaries
    • In order to increase the nutritional value of rice and its scope, the Government started implementing nutrition by providing fortified rice under all government schemes. 
    • The implementation of the first phase covering ICDS, PM Poshan in the States/UTs started in FY 2021-22. Under ICDS and PM Poshan, 17.51 lakh metric tonnes of fortified rice has been distributed.

    About One Nation One Ration Card

    • Ministry: It was rolled out by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution in 2019.
    • Aim: 
      • To ensure hassle-free delivery of subsidised food grains to all migratory beneficiaries anywhere in the country through nation-wide portability under National Food Security Act (NFSA).
      • To empower all National Food Security Act migrant beneficiaries to access foodgrains from any Fair Price Shop (FPS) of their choice anywhere in the country by using their same/existing ration card with biometric authentication.
        • A card bearing 10 digit number will be issued to the complaint state’s BPL card holders which will be linked to AADHAR database.
        • Beneficiaries can lift their entitled foodgrains from any electronic point of sale (ePoS) enabled FPS in the country through portability.
    • Objective: To empower all NFSA beneficiaries to become AtmaNirbhar for their food security anywhere in the country, through portability of their existing ration cards enabling them to seamlessly lift their entitled subsidised foodgrains from any Fair Price Shop of their choice.
    • ‘MERA RATION’ mobile application: 
      • Another dimension under the ONORC plan is the ‘MERA RATION’ mobile application which has been rolled out to take maximum advantage of the ONORC plan.
      • The mobile app is providing a host of useful real time information to the beneficiaries and is available in 13 languages.

    Significance/ Benefits

    • Subsidised food grains: The ONORC plan has significantly contributed in ensuring subsidised food grains to NFSA (National Food Security Act) beneficiaries, especially migrant beneficiaries.
    • Huge Internal Migration: According to the 2011 census, there are 45 crore internal migrants who accounted for 37% of the population.
    • Prevent Duplication and Double Benefits: It will help in reducing the number of dual ration cardholders.
    • It will be in sync with the motto of Minimum Government Maximum Governance.
    • Help in understanding migration pattern: The centralised FRP shop data may be used to formulate policies on intra- and inter-state migration.
    • Better efficiency of Food Distribution Schemes: As per the reply to an RTI, over 40,000 tonnes of food grains, including wheat and rice, have rotted in the last six years. With ONORC those left out due to migration can take that food.
    • Less Corruption and Exploitation: Different news articles have reported rampant corruption and exploitation for getting BPL cards by migrants in other states. It will reduce.
    • Empowering BPL Card Holders: ONORC will give the deprived people the choice to choose from corrupt and well functioning FRP shops.
    • Reduce Social Discrimination: It will reduce the role of social identities like caste, class and gender and power relations in availing the PDS facility by women and other disadvantaged classes.
    • Help towards fulfilling SDG 2 target of ending hunger by 2030: In the 2020 Global Hunger Index, India ranks 94th out of the 107 countries.
    • Nutritional Security: With cheap food grain available to migrants, there are chances of more expenditure towards fruits and vegetables.


    • Exclusion Errors: 
      • As the ONORC is AADHAR linked there are chances of exclusion of people living in remote areas especially scheduled tribes.
      • As per the ‘2019 state of AADHAR survey’, 95 percent of the adults in the country have AADHAR.
      • It means the rest 5% may suffer from hunger due to non availability of AADHAR.
    • Operational Challenges: 
      • Internet penetration is still less in India for the smooth functioning of ONORC.
      • Changes in Fingerprints have also been reported both due to genetics and due to constant wear and work-related wear and tear especially in case of labourers.
    • Logistics Issue: 
      • There is a quota allocated to every state for the purchase of food grains from FCI.
      • Constant migration may disturb that procurement pattern.
        • At places of emigration, food grain may get wasted.
        • While the places where immigration is dominant may face a PDS food crunch.
    • Split Families:  
      • Many migrants leave their spouses and parents back home. Hence there will be a requirement to issue cards in parts.
      • Also there is a lack of comprehensive data on migrants and their families.
    • Domicile based Social Sector Schemes: 
      • There may be tensions over competition for state run social sector schemes due to Common Ration Card which is at present basis for availing such schemes.

    Way Ahead

    • To meet Logistic Challenges and optimise the States Procurement:
      • Creation of dedicated ONORC e-platform based on Artificial Intelligence: It may be used to predict and issue the cards to migrants.
      • Use of railways data: As shown in the Economic Survey, the preliminary data regarding migration may be taken up from IRCTC.
      • Unorganised Sector Social Security Act 2008: It has provisions regarding documentation of unorganised informal sector workers at welfare boards.
    • To Handle Operational Challenges:
      • Impetus to BharatNet
      • Deeper Internet Penetration should be promoted
    • To eliminate Exclusion Errors:
      • Constant monitoring and empowerment of Village Panchayats at least in the initial phase.
      • Social Auditing may weed out any inclusion error and help in reducing exclusion error by recommending the names.

    Source: PIB