March 21, 2022
The government launched the One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC) scheme for providing an option to all eligible ration card holders covered under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013 for accessing their entitlements from anywhere in India. The scheme has been under discussion since then, but it is only after the Covid crisis that the issue got highlighted in the community.
At Agrasar, we give complete information about ration cards to all the community members especially migrants and the benefits under this scheme. Till now our team has been successful in helping more than 300 families procure ration and are constantly connecting more and more people with the scheme.
As far as implementation on the ground goes, ONORC is still a work in progress. Sometimes details of the card holder do not appear on the online portal or e-POS (electronic point of sale) machine at the FPS (Fair Price Shop)/ration depots. This is either due to the Aadhaar card not being updated or because he/she has not taken ration on his ration card for more than 3-4 months. However, in this situation one need not panic. The problem can be solved by going to the ration office of one’s locality and following their instructions accordingly. These processes can differ from state to state as every government has their own guidelines under ONORC.
Before ONORC if the NFSA beneficiary migrated from the assigned FPS location or their hometown to another location then he/she was not eligible to receive subsidised food grains from an FPS in the migrated location. ONORC allows all the ration card holders, particularly migrants, to claim either whole or part of the food grains from any ration depot situated anywhere in the country through an existing ration card with biometric or Aadhaar authentication in a seamless manner. Even though, to avail ration there is no need to share the ration card or Aadhaar card with the ration dealer but it is still advisable to carry them to the FPS for procuring ration because technical issues occur frequently in their servers or e-POS machines.
We have observed that ration dealers in Gurugram prefer giving ration to locals first, and then leftover is given to migrants - because the stock they get is limited. Ration depots run according to the number of local ration cards registered under them. From the last 2 years there has been updation of names and details of the migrant RC (ration card) holders in the portal but this process is time consuming and highly irregular. Depot dealers are hesitant to remove names of the RC holders who have moved away from their homes from their system, so that their depot does not close down due to insufficient number of registered card holders.
For quick access, a mobile app has also been launched for ONORC called “Mera Ration” App, which can be downloaded on a smart phone. With the help of this one can find out the ration depots nearby, status of ration card and the quantity of ration that one is entitled to. But the app is also being updated, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.
Getting subsidised ration is extremely important for migrant workers and their families, given many of them earn barely enough to make ends meet. In this regard ONORC is a step in the right direction, but there is still much to be done before it works smoothly and reaches every needy individual in the society.