What is ‘One Nation, One Ration Card?
One nation One Ration Card :
Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan had earlier implemented the pilot project of ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ scheme in four states in the year 2019. From 01 January 2020, however, while the COVID-19 crisis has delayed the process but also made it inevitable. One Nation, One Ration Card Scheme was implemented in 12 states across India.
Which are Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Telangana, Rajasthan, Kerala, Tripura, Haryana, and Andhra Pradesh
The central government has prepared a standard format for ration cards which has been named as ‘One Nation, One Ration Card Scheme’. Under this scheme, any citizen residing in the country will be able to get cheaper food grains from the public distribution system shops (PDS shops) throughout the country.
Criteria for the ‘One Nation, One Ration Card Scheme:-
The worker, who is declared as the Below Poverty Line (BPL) in the respective states/UTs will be eligible to get the benefit of this scheme across the country.
- Beneficiary to Fair Price Shop: Under the initiative, eligible beneficiaries would be able to avail their entitled foodgrains under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) from any Fair Price Shop in the country using the same ration card.
2. No need to get a new Ration card:-There is no need to get a new ration card to avail benefits of this PDS scheme. Under this scheme, all previous ration cardholders across the country will be able to get cheaper food grains from the Public Distribution System shops in any corner of the country.
3. Priority ration card – priority ration cards are issued to households that meet the eligibility criteria set by their state government. Each priority household is entitled to 5 kilograms of food grain per member
4. Beneficiaries Verification:- The beneficiaries of this PDS scheme will be identified on the basis of their Aadhar based identification through the electronic point of sale (PoS) device. All the PDS shops will have the facility of electronic point of sale (PoS) device.
State which has 100% PoS machines at PDS shops, will be included in the ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ scheme.
Around 77% % of the PDS shops across the country have PoS machines and around 85% of people covered under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) have their cards linked to Aadhaar.
5. Langauge in the One nation one ration card:- Currently, Indian states have different formats and languages in the ration card. But Now all the states will follow a standard format. The state governments have been requested to issue the ration card in the bi-lingual format, wherein besides the local language, the other language could be English or Hindi.
Key features of the act:
Who are Beneficiaries?
- The act provides legal food security to 67% of the population of India. The eligible person gets Rice @Rs. 3 per Kg, Wheat @Rs. 2 per Kg, and Coarse Grains @Rs. 1 Kg per month subject to a maximum of 5Kg per month.
- These prices are fixed in the schedule of the act and can be amended after three years.
- However, the beneficiaries covered under Antyodaya Anna Yojana will keep receiving the 35Kg per household per month at the same rates.
- this act covers infants, children, and lactating women with different entitlements for them.
- Every pregnant and lactating mother is entitled to a free meal at the local Anganwadi (during pregnancy and six months after childbirth) as well as maternity benefits of Rs 6,000, in installments. Maternal benefits did not extend to Government employees.
Identification of beneficiaries:
- The identification of eligible households is left to state governments, subject to the scheme’s guidelines for Antyodaya, and subject to guidelines to be “specified” by the state government for Priority households.
- The lists of eligible households are to be placed in the public domain and displayed prominently” by state governments.
State Food Commissions:
- The act provides for the creation of State Food Commissions. Each Commission shall consist of a chairperson, five other members, and a member-secretary (including at least two women and one member each from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes).
- The main function of the State Commission is to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the act, give advice to the states governments and their agencies, and inquire into violations of entitlements (either suo motu or on receipt of a complaint, and with “all the powers of a civil court while trying a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure 1908”). State Commissions also have to hear appeals against orders of the District Grievance Redressal Officer.
- Each state commission is required to prepare annual reports to be laid before the state legislature. Two or more states can have a Joint Food Commission with the approval of the Central Government.
Two-tier grievance redressal structure:
- NFSA-2013 provides for a two-tier grievance redressal structure, involving the District Grievance Redressal Officer (DGRO) and State Food Commission.
- State governments also must put in place an internal grievance redressal mechanism which may include call centers, helplines, the designation of nodal of officers, “or such other mechanisms as may be prescribed”.
Transparency Provisions :
- Placing all PDS-related records in the public domain and keeping them open for inspection to the public
- Conducting periodic social audits of the PDS and other welfare schemes;
- Using information and communication technology (including end-to-end computerization of the PDS) “to ensure transparent recording of transactions at all levels.
- Setting up vigilance committees at state, district, block, and fair price shop levels to supervise all schemes under the act.
- Maternity Benefit: Pregnant women and lactating mothers will also be entitled to receive maternity benefit of not less than Rs. 6,000.
- Women Empowerment: Eldest woman of the household of age 18 years or above to be the head of the household for the purpose of issuing of ration cards.
- Transparency and Accountability: Provisions have been made for disclosure of records relating to PDS, social audits, and setting up of Vigilance Committees in order to ensure transparency and accountability.
- Food Security Allowance: Provision for food security allowance to entitled beneficiaries in case of non-supply of entitled foodgrains or meals.
- Penalty: Provision for a penalty on public servant or authority, to be imposed by the State Food Commission, in case of failure to comply with the relief recommended by the District Grievance Redressal Officer.
- Cost of intra-State transportation & handling of foodgrains and FPS Dealers’ margin: Central Government will provide assistance to States in meeting the expenditure incurred by them on transportation of foodgrains within the State, its handling, and FPS dealers’ margin as per norms to be devised for this purpose.