New Delhi: Five more states, including Bihar and Punjab, have joined the 'One Nation-One Ration Card' system, taking the total ration card portability to 17 states and Union territories helping 60 crore beneficiaries, Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said on Friday.
Under the 'One Nation-One Ration Card' initiative, eligible beneficiaries would be able to avail their entitled foodgrains under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) from any Fair Price Shop in the country using the same ration card.
The food ministry is aiming to implement this facility across the country from June 1. "Today, 5 more states -- Bihar, UP, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Daman and Diu -- have been integrated with One Nation-One Ration Card System," Paswan said in a tweet.
On January 1 this year, 12 states were integrated among each other and now 17 states are on integrated management of the public distribution system (PDS), also called ration shops/fair price shops, he added.
"About 60 crore beneficiaries from 17 states and UTs can benefit from the ration card portability and they can purchase the subsidised foodgrains using the existing ration cards," an official statement said.
Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Haryana, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Jharkhand and Tripura are 12 states where ration card portability has been implemented. The beneficiaries can lift 50 per cent of their entitlement.
According to the statement, the ministry has decided to integrate the five states after assessing their technical preparedness. The state officials were given technical assistance and training for the same.
The five states have been asked to immediately begin monitoring of the new system, it said, and added that the Centre is pursuing with other states to join the ration card portability system at the earliest.
There are over 81 crore beneficiaries in the country registered under the NFSA for subsidised foodgrains of 5 kilo per person at Rs 1-3/kg.
Recently, the Supreme Court had asked the Centre to consider the feasibility of 'temporarily' adopting the 'one nation, one ration card' scheme during the ongoing coronavirus lockdown period to enable the migrant workers and economically weaker sections (EWS) get subsidised foodgrain.
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