Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan on Saturday said that the Centre has given states and Union Territories one year to roll out the “one nation, one ration card” scheme, under which ration card holders can buy subsidised foodgrains from any part of the country, PTI reported.
“By next June 30, 2020, ‘one nation, one ration card’ should be implemented without fail in the entire country,” Paswan told reporters. “We have written letters to the state government to fast track the implementation of this system.”
The food minister said 10 states – Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Telangana and Tripura – already have a portable public distribution system. Paswan added that 11 states, including Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha, can implement portability of the public distribution system as Point of Sale machines have been installed in all ration shops.
The new system will ensure that no poor people are deprived of foodgrains under the PDS system if they shift from one place to another, Paswan said. The new system will also help weed out fake ration card holders, he claimed.
Paswan said that Aadhaar cards of about 89% of the beneficiaries have been linked with the PDS so far, while 77% of ration shops have installed Point of Sale machines.
The minister said that in case a beneficiary moves to a state where foodgrains are provided for free, he will buy the grains at Rs 1 Rs 3 per kilogram – the price fixed by the Centre. The beneficiary will be allowed to buy a maximum of 50% of their family’s quota if he or she moves to another state, Paswan added.
The food minister said that fortified rice will be distributed under the PDS on a pilot basis in one district each in 15 states from October-November. Rice grown in the 2019 Kharif season will be fortified with iron, folic acid, vitamin A and B12 at the milling stage, he said.