Assam on board, ration card now usable pan-India
June 22, 2022

In News:

  • Assam has become the last and the 36th state to implement the One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC) scheme.
  • With this, the scheme now covers all the states and UTs, making distribution of subsidised and free foodgrain security portable throughout the country.

What’s in Today’s Article:

  • One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC) scheme – About, key features, working, benefits, performance

In Focus: One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC)

  • It is aimed at enabling migrant workers and their family members to buy subsidised ration from any fair price shop anywhere in the country.
  • All eligible ration cardholders or beneficiaries covered under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013 can access their entitlements from anywhere in India.
  • The facility was started as inter-State portability of ration cards in 4 States w.e.f. August 2019.
    • These four states were Andhra Pradesh-Telangana and Gujarat-Maharashtra.
  • Department of Food and Public Distribution is the nodal agency responsible for implementation of this scheme.

Key Features

  • The beneficiaries under the system are ration cardholders who are eligible to get food grains from fair-price shops (FPS).
    • Ration cardholders can buy up to 5 kg of rice at Rs 3/kg, wheat at Rs 2/kg, and coarse grains at Rs 1/kg per month.
    • This was mandated under the NFSA passed in 2013.
  • These beneficiaries can claim either full or part foodgrains from any FPS in the country.
    • This can be done through existing ration card with biometric/Aadhaar authentication in a seamless manner.
  • The scheme also allows their family members back home, if any, to claim the balance foodgrains on same the ration card.

How does ONORC work?

  • ONORC is based on technology that involves details of beneficiaries’ ration card, Aadhaar number, and electronic Points of Sale (ePoS).
  • The system identifies a beneficiary through biometric authentication on ePoS devices at FPS.
  • The system runs with the support of two portals which host all the relevant data. These are:


  • Hassle free ration to migrants
    • Previously, with the ration card, a beneficiary could only purchase subsidised food and grain from the PDS which was assigned to them in their locality.
    • Due to this, there have been many issues faced by the migrants who shift to other cities for work.
  • Empowerment of the beneficiaries
    • Now the beneficiaries have the opportunity to choose their own dealer.
    • With many cases of misallocation, the beneficiary can switch to another FPS shop instantly, if there is any case of foul play.
  • Step towards fulfilment of SDG
    • It will also help achieve the target set under SDG 2: Ending hunger by 2030. It also aims to address the poor state of hunger in India.
  • Improved efficiency
    • Seeding of Aadhar with ration card removed duplicate ration cards.
    • Also, use of technology improved the efficiency of PDS network.

Performance so far

  • All States/UTs covered
    • With inclusion of Assam, the scheme now covers all the states and UTs.
  • Significant portable transactions
    • Since 2019, about 71 crore portable transactions have taken place delivering food-grains equivalent to about Rs 40,000 crore in food subsidy through portability.
    • At present, a monthly average of about 3 crore portable transactions are being recorded.
  • During Covid-19
    • During the COVID-19 period from April 2020 till date, the ministry said about 64 crore portable transactions have been recorded.
    • It delivered foodgrains equivalent to about Rs 36,000 crore in food subsidy through portability.
  • MERA RATION mobile application
    • The government has also rolled out the 'MERA RATION' mobile application to take maximum advantage of the ONORC plan.
    • The mobile app is providing a host of useful real-time information to the beneficiaries and is available in 13 languages.