Govt fails to roll out ‘one nation one ration card’ by June as planned

‘One Nation One Ration Card’ was announced in June last year and was to be rolled out in June this year. But the Finance Minister’s announcement on Thursday has pushed it back till March, 2021

Press Conference by FM Smt Nirmala Sitharaman
Press Conference by FM Smt Nirmala Sitharaman

NH Web Desk

“The government's 'One Nation One Ration Card' initiative that will largely cover migrant labourers and daily wagers will come into force across the country from June 1, 2020, Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan said on Tuesday,” reported news agency PTI in December, 2019.

The agency had then added that “under the initiative, eligible beneficiaries would be able to avail their entitled food grains under the National Food Security Act from any Fair Price Shop (FPS) in the country using the same ration card. This would be made available after biometric/Aadhaar authentication on ePoS(electronic Point of Sale) devices” Paswan, the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution had told the Lok Sabha.

Bihar, UP, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Daman and Diu -- have been integrated with One Nation-One Ration Card System". He gave no indication that the scheme would not be rolled out in June as was planned.

On January 1 this year, 12 states were integrated among each other and at the beginning of My 17 states had become part of the integrated management of the public distribution system (PDS).

But on Thursday, May 14, two weeks after Paswan’s tweet, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced, “The ongoing "One Nation One Ration Card " scheme, under which anyone, irrespective of where they are, can avail of ration, is already rolled out 83 per cent so far, and will be 100 per cent by March 2021."

She gave no explanation why the scheme is being pushed back; or why it cannot be rolled out early because of the urgency to help migrants and the economy.

The only silver lining is that even those who do not have ration cards will be given food grains for the next three months. What it means is that even if migrant workers choose to return to the cities by August, they will have to wait till March next year to avail of the benefits of one nation, one ration card.

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