Ration card portability gained traction across India this year, as 28 crore transactions were recorded in the first 11 months of 2023, according to the food ministry.
Started in August 2019, in just four states, inter and intra-state portability under the One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC) service has been enabled in all 28 states and 8 Union Territories.
The objective of the ONORC was to empower poor beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), espcially migrants, to avail subsidised ration seamlessly from any e-PoS (electronic point of sale device) enabled ration shops in the country with biometric or aadhar authentification at the time of lifting of the foodgrain through portability.
Further, their family members back home can also lift balance requirement of foodgrains on the same ration card.
"About 28 crore portability transactions were performed in 11 months of 2023 delivering more than 80 lakh tonne foodgrains including inter-state and intra-state portability transactions of NFSA and Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY)," the food ministry said in a statement.
Presently, more than 2.5 crore portability transactions are being recorded every month under the PMGKAY foodgrain distribution, it said.
Since inception of ONORC plan in August 2019, more than 125 crore portability transactions have been recorded under the ONORC service in the country delivering more than 241 lakh tonnes foodgrains, which includes both inter-state and intra-state transactions, it added.
From January 1, this year, the government is supplying foodgrains free of cost to 81 crore beneficiaries under the PMGKAY. Prior to that, under NFSA, subsidized food grains were distributed at Rs 3 per kg for rice, Rs 2 per kg for wheat and at Rs 1 per kg for coarse grains to beneficiaries.
"The free foodgrains will concurrently ensure uniform implementation of portability under ONORC across the country and will further strengthen this choice-based platform," the ministry added.
The government distributed on an average 38-41 lakh tonnes of foodgrains every month under PMGKAY.
The distribution plan of fortified rice through ration shops was also rolled out in April this year and it will be completed by March 2024.
The government said that it has completed digitisation of 20.06 crore ration cards covering 80 crore beneficiaries, automated 99.8 per cent of ration shops with electronic point of sale devices for transparent distribution of grains and done more than 98.8 per cent aadhar seeding of ration card of at least one member.