The food ministry on Friday said it is considering extending the implementation of ration card portability under the 'One Nation-One Ration Card' initiative beyond March 2021. This was discussed at a meeting of an empowered committee on public distribution system (PDS) reforms, chaired by Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey. The meeting was for review and approval of extension of the Integrated Management of PDS (IM-PDS), under which the 'One Nation-One Ration Card' plan is being implemented.
IM-PDS is a portal that provides the technological platform for the inter-state portability of ration cards. Under the 'One Nation-One Ration Card' 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.
"With a view to ensuring that work done under the IM-PDS is continued and further strengthened, it is being considered for extension beyond March 2021," the ministry said in a statement. During the proposed extended period of IM-PDS, funding requirements of states and UTs would also be met, it added.
Currently, 24 states and Union territories are integrated with IM-PDS for the 'One Nation-One Ration Card' (ONORC) initiative. Besides, the committee also reviewed the progress of fair price shop automation, Aadhaar generation/seeding and development of mobile application aimed to help migrant NFSA beneficiaries to register themselves and take the full benefit of ration card portability.
The ministry is also planning to implement a national helpline number in various states and UTs to help the migrant beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) availing portability under the ONORC, the statement added. Top officials from the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), National Informatics Centre (NIC) and food secretaries of four states and representatives from the IT ministry and state-owned FCI were present in the empowered committee meeting.
Meanwhile, the food secretary held a meeting with the Food Corporation of India's (FCI) chairman and managing director and Central Warehousing Corporation MD and senior officer of the department to commemorate the 'Poshan Maah' organised by the Ministry of Women and Child Development. The Poshan Maah is observed every year in September.
As part of this, the food ministry, through its state-owned firms, has decided to organise activities as suggested by the women and child development ministry in various parts of the country to sensitise the target groups on the merits of nutritional security.