Assam has finally operationalised the ration card portability service and with this, the Centre's 'One Nation, One Ration Card' programme is implemented across the country, the food ministry said on Tuesday. Under the ONORC (One Nation, One Ration Card), beneficiaries covered under the National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA) can get their quota of subsidised foodgrains from any electronic point of sale device (ePoS)-enabled fair price shops of their choice by using their existing ration cards with biometric authentication.
"Assam has become the 36th state/UT to implement ONORC," the ministry said in a statement. With this, the ONORC programme has been successfully implemented in all states and Union Territories, making food security portable throughout the country, it said. The implementation of ONORC was initiated in August 2019.
According to the ministry, ration card portability has significantly contributed in ensuring subsidised foodgrains to NFSA beneficiaries, especially migrant beneficiaries, during the last two years of COVID-19 pandemic. Since 2019, about 71 crore portable transactions have taken place delivering foodgrains equivalent to about Rs 40,000 crore in food subsidy through portability. At present, a monthly average of about 3 crore portable transactions are being recorded, delivering the subsidised NFSA and free PMGKAY foodgrains with anywhere flexibility to the beneficiaries, it said.
During the COVID-19 period from April 2020 till date, the ministry said about 64 crore portable transactions have been recorded, delivering foodgrains equivalent to about Rs 36,000 crore in food subsidy through portability. Out of these 64 crore portable transactions, 27.8 crore were recorded under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), announced in March 2020 for distribution of additional free foodgrains to NFSA beneficiaries to mitigate the Covid-induced hardships.
The government has also rolled out the 'MERA RATION' mobile application 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. So far, the app has been downloaded more than 20 lakh times from Google Play Store.