Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Friday said as many as 20 states and union territories are getting ready for implementation of the ambitious ration card portability service 'One Nation-One Ration Card' from June 1.
Under the initiative, eligible beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) would be able to avail their entitled foodgrains from any Fair Price Shop in the country using the same ration card.
"So far, 17 states and UTs have integrated and three more states Odisha, Mizoram and Nagaland are also getting prepared. Total 20 states/UTs will be ready for the launch of ration card portability from June 1," Paswan told reporters.
Seeding Aadhar details with ration cards and installing point of sale machines at PDS shops are critical for enabling ration card portability, he said.
Already, 17 states/UTs have completed this process. These are: Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Haryana, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Jharkhand, Tripura, Bihar, UP, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Daman and Diu.
Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey said already intra-state ration card portability is being used, but the transactions are not significant. About one crore transactions a month are reported now.
Inter-state portability has not yet picked up due to lack of awareness and suspension of biometric machines in view of COVID-19 pandemic, he said.
"However, the issue has been sorted out with state governments. PDS (public distribution system) shop owners have been asked to keep hand sanitizer which the beneficiary can use, after and before using their finger for biometric identification," Pandey said.
State governments have also been asked to create more awareness about the service, which will be made available in 20 states from next month, he added.
There are over 81 crore beneficiaries under NFSA in the country, for subsidised foodgrains of 5 kilo per person at Rs 1-3/kg.