ONORC: The Supreme Court recently directed all states and Union Territories (UTs) to implement the One Nation, One Ration Card (ONORC) system by July 31st, 2021.
- One Nation, One Ration Card (ONORC) is a government scheme to make sure that no citizen sleeps hungry.
- ONORC was launched in August 2019.
- However, the work on the portability of ration cards had begun as early as April 2018.
- It was rolled out under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013.
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 Bihar will be able to access PDS benefits in Mumbai, where he or she may have gone in search of work.
- On the other hand, members of his or her family can still go to their ration dealer back home.
How many States have implemented ONORC?
- Till date, 32 states and Union Territories have joined the ONORC, covering about 69 crore NFSA beneficiaries.
- Four states are yet to join the scheme — Assam, Chhattisgarh, Delhi and West Bengal.
Incentives for implementation of ONORC to the States:
- To promote ONORC reform in the Public Distribution System(PDS), the Government of India has provided incentives to states.
- The Centre had even set the implementation of ONORC as a precondition for additional borrowing by states during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.
How does ONORC work?
- ONORC is based on technology that involves details of beneficiaries’ ration card, Aadhaar number, and electronic Points of Sale (ePoS).
- The system identifies a beneficiary through biometric authentication on ePos devices at fair price shops.
- The system runs with the support of two portals.
- They are Integrated Management of Public Distribution System (IM-PDS) and Annavitran, which host all the relevant data.
- When a ration card holder goes to a fair price shop, he or she identifies himself or herself through biometric authentication on ePoS, which is matched real-time with details on the Annavitaran portal.
- Once the ration card details are verified, the dealer hands out the beneficiary’s entitlements.
- While the Annavitaran portal maintains a record of intra-state transactions – inter-district and intra-district — the IM-PDS portal records the inter-state transactions.
About the National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA 2013):
- The National Food Security Act 2013 (also ‘Right to Food Act’) is an Indian Act of Parliament which aims to provide subsidized food grains to approximately two thirds of the country’s 1.2 billion people.
- It was signed into law on 12 September 2013, retroactive to 5 July 2013.
- The NFSA 2013 converts into legal entitlements for existing food security programmes of the Government of India.
- It includes the Midday Meal Scheme, Integrated Child Development Services scheme and the Public Distribution System.
- In addition, it also recognizes maternity entitlements.