The Centre is working on a plan to launch a “One Nation, One Ration Card” scheme for beneficiaries so that they can access the public distribution system from any ration shop in the country, The Indian Express reported on Friday.
This scheme will benefit migrant workers. “They will have full food security,” The Times of India quoted Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan as saying. “This will also provide freedom to the beneficiaries as they will not be tied to any one PDS shop. It will curtail instances of corruption.”
Paswan told The Indian Express that the government was aiming to complete formalities of the scheme in one year. “The availability of PoS [Point of Sale] machines need to be ensured at all PDS shops to implement the scheme,” he said. “PoS machines are available at all PDS shops in various states such as Andhra Pradesh, Haryana and a few other others, but 100% availability is required to provide the benefit across the country.”
Paswan chaired a meeting to discuss the scheme on Thursday with food secretaries and other officials of state governments, Food Corporation of India, Central Warehousing Corporation, and state warehousing corporations.
The food ministry will create a central database of all ration cards, which will help eliminate duplication. This Integrated Management of PDS, or IMPDS, will be a real-time online database of ration cards, built along the lines of the system used to verify Goods and Services Tax Identification Number. The food ministry said the IMPDS is operational in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Telangana and Tripura, which allows beneficiaries to avail of their share of foodgrain from any district in the state.