New Delhi: The central government on Monday (June 14) told the Supreme Court that the ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ plan would benefit migrants by providing them access to foodgrains from any fair price shop anywhere in the country.
It said that the migrants will be able to use their existing ration card with biometric authentication, adding that the plan would make food security “portable”.
The Centre said it is committed to making sufficient foodgrains available to the states at highly subsidised prices, which would help aid them during the COVID-19 crisis.
“All the States/UTs have been advised through the communications dated May 20, 2021, and May 25, 2021, to avail their requirements of foodgrains through the mentioned schemes, to provide foodgrains to those who are not covered under the NFSA including migrants/stranded migrants, as per locally assessed requirements,” the affidavit of the Centre stated.
The court was hearing a case relating to the problems faced by migrants during the lockdown.
The court last week had observed that all states must implement the One Nation One Ration Card scheme, irrespective of the place where their ration card is registered.
“Although the facility of ONORC shall equally benefit all 80 Crore NFSA beneficiaries to lift their foodgrains from any Fair Price Shop (FPS) of choice, but it primarily aims to enable migratory NFSA beneficiaries (mostly labourers, daily-wagers, urban poor like rag-pickers, street-dwellers, temporary workers in organised and un-organised sectors, domestic workers, etc.) who frequently travel in search of better opportunities or for any other reasons, to access the Public Distribution System (PDS) and if they desire, may lift their entitled foodgrains from any ePoS enabled FPS in the country through portability. It is submitted that portability gives that choice, while at the same time enabling the family back home to draw the remainder of the eligible ration,” the Centre said.
It further said that a total of 32 states/UTs covering around 69 crore NFSA beneficiaries, that is, 86 per cent NFSA population in the country were swiftly brought under the ONORC plan by December 2020.”
The integration of the remaining four States and UT of Assam, Chhattisgarh, Delhi and West Bengal is expected to be achieved, it added.
The Centre said that the onus on implementing ONORC is on these states.