One nation one ration card: How many know about it

Facilities of inter-state portability for food security and selecting a fair price ration shop of one’s choice has been availed by 58% migrant workers

By Vivek Mishra
Published: Wednesday 06 April 2022

Every fifth family in India is still unaware about the benefits of the portability facility provided by the ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ (ONORC) scheme, considered to be key to the success of the public distribution system (PDS). This is according to a recent study by social impact advisory group, Dalberg.

The study was conducted in Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, covering 6,700 low-income households and 1,500 PDS dealers. These states have a 40 per cent share in the PDS and were the first to adopt ONORC.

The study said ONORC was specifically designed to benefit migrants. However, marginalised women have not able to benefit much from it, especially in matters of availing food grains.

The study also noted that the facility of inter-state portability for food security and that of selecting a fair price ration shop (FPS) of one’s choice was being availed by 58 per cent of migrant workers.

The ONORC scheme is also leaving a positive impact on non-migrant workers, according to the study.

The study, conducted in collaboration with the Omidyar Network India, said technical failure of FPS and fear of stocks running out have been found to be the main reasons behind ONORC transaction failures.

Government orders to provide rations have been given even after transactions failed. Most PDS dealers are unaware of what steps should be taken on such occasions.

Here are some highlights of the study:

  • Some 48 per cent of beneficiaries are fully aware of portability and 31 percent partially while 20 per cent of households are willing to know about portability but have no idea about it
  • Some 88 per cent of households are using portability for rations, while four per cent of the households have failed to do so
  • Twelve per cent of the households experienced transaction failures
  • Twenty per cent migrant households availed portability facility while 12 per cent households used ration cards recently while 14 per cent want to do so in the future
  • Two per cent of beneficiaries linked their ration cards with Aadhaar
  • Widows, divorced women are facing more troubles for ration card updates
  • Ninety-seven per cent of PDS dealers know about ration portability but only 74 per cent are aware of the inter-state portability facility
  • Thirty-two per cent PDS dealers don’t consider it better for fear of rising demand and stock running out

Swetha Totapalli of Dalberg advisors said the ONORC scheme has benefited many before the COVID-19 pandemic. A migrant labourer can now get his ration in any city. This scheme can be further improved by removing the lack of awareness about it, she said.

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