FM Nirmala Sitharaman
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman | Photo: Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
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New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government’s ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ scheme, which will allow migrant workers and their families access to PDS benefits from any fair price shop in the country, is another scheme that it has deftly appropriated from its predecessor, the Congress-led UPA government. 

A task force led by the then UIDAI chairman Nandan Nilekani had in 2011 proposed to link ration cards of all beneficiaries with Aadhaar and connect the data to one server.  

The project never took off due to stringent opposition from the Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council (NAC), said a retired senior agriculture ministry official, who was coordinating between the ministry and NAC on the issue. 

“Back then, the anti-Aadhaar lobby in the NAC opposed it tooth and nail, resulting in the scheme being put on the backburner,” the retired officer, who did not want to be named, told ThePrint. 

The officer added that the One Nation, One Ration Card is not a new scheme like Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman made it sound on Thursday. “But I don’t see any harm if the Modi government gives it a new name and launches it as their original idea. At the end of the day, it will benefit the poor by plugging leakages in the public distribution system (PDS).” 

Once implemented across India, the One Nation One Ration Card scheme will ensure that PDS beneficiaries can lift food grains that they are entitled to under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013, from any fair price shop in the country. The NFSA covers over 80 crore people.


Also read: Migrant crisis could’ve been averted if Modi’s One Nation One Ration Card scheme was ready

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When was the idea first mooted?

The idea to make ration cards portable was first mooted by the Nilekani-led task force way back in 2011. The task force’s mandate was to come up with an IT strategy for PDS and an implementable solution for the direct transfer of subsidy for food and kerosene.

Constituted by the finance ministry in February 2011, the task force submitted its report to the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government in October 2011.  

The report suggested that full nationwide portability of benefits under PDS could be ensured by interoperability of ration cards and fair price shops across the country. 

The committee also recommended the constitution of a National Information Utility, which was to be known as Public Distribution System Network, for facilitating the One Nation One Ration Card by implementing and operating the IT infrastructure for PDS. 

This was to be achieved by using effective computerisation by ensuring large scale, speed, cost-effectiveness, and quality in operations for PDS interoperability across the country. 


Also read: Fiscal damage from Modi govt’s big stimulus package to be less than Rs 50,000 crore this year


Scheme had a June 2020 deadline earlier 

Sitharaman, while announcing the second tranche of the Rs 20 lakh crore package under Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, said the government will implement the One Nation One Ration Card scheme across the country by March 2021.

The scheme was first launched last year by Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Minister Ram Vilas Paswan who had set a deadline of June 2020.

To start with, it was made operational on a pilot basis in 12 states.


Also read: Economists expect RBI will print money as India battles Covid-19. Here’s what it means


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13 Comments Share Your Views

13 COMMENTS

  1. SIRHELPHELPHELPPRIMEMINISTERNARENDRAMODISIR15JULY2015LAUNCHEDNATIONALSKILLDEVELOPMENTJOBJOININGLETTERHELPSCRGOOTYSIRHELP UBICHERALAVILLEGECell9652393957

  2. The article is trying to project everything is a result of Congress ideas without seeing the reality that it never took off. Even DBT never implemented – both meant loss of controls to the middlemen which they never wanted to disturb. Hypocrisy at its best

  3. The Print is trying to project everything is a a result of Congress ideas without seeing the reality that it never took off. When such is the state of mind then clearly there is no case to give credit when none is due. Even DBT never implemented – both meant loss of controls to the middlemen which they never wanted to disturb. Hypocrisy at its best

  4. The Print is trying to project everything is a a result of Congress ideas without seeing the reality that it never took off. When such is the state of mind then clearly there is no case to give credit when none is due. Even DBT was talked about but never implemented – both meant loss of controls to the States and middlemen or there supporters which they never wanted to disturb. Hypocrisy at its best

  5. if Mrs.Indira Gandhi alive,in this time(suppose),IS IT POSSIBLE for any party go and sit in power in wrong way,would they be alive??
    leadership.

  6. Whatever it is i
    When you did not start a project , when it is in paper only how can the official say it belongs to UPA. Further, a will to get it implement. Is necessary for any programme to succeed. The UPA looted large amount of poor’ s money by misusing various data’s. But Modi is seeing to it that it is linked to Aadhar & reaches their bank account. .

  7. Now recording issue is easy. It can be marked that ration of pds of the shop no. bearing on card can be indicated where it was issued. Automatically it bars fual drawal. At the end of a quarter it can be tallied and claimed by the respective shops which issued ration of one shop in another shop. Then govt.reimburse the subsidy for the ration of another shop issued. As it is on the basis of actual issue there no further examination/chek in addition to the existing one.

  8. Note the most important fact in this article………….”The project never took off due to stringent opposition from the Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council (NAC)”.
    And this is the same Mummy-G of Congress along with her half-wit son Pappu-G, who shed crocodile tears for “the poor”.

  9. PDS States has always been a money spinner for controller or the District Supply Officer and through him the IAS Collectors, no ration card is made without a bribe, allotment of FPS is also mired in bribes, monthly bribes to the staff are normal that too in kind also apart from cash. Similar is the case with Food Corporation of India. Can any Minister or PM CLEAN THIS MESS, DOUBTFUL

  10. I am from Assam Of Dima Hasau district but now i m in Guwahati Kamrup (m) District can i Use my Ration Card to Take my Ration Item in Kamrup

  11. Good ideas are not the sole property of any single party. Rejection of the idea is more a reflection of intellectual hubris and state of the party currently it is in.

  12. Congress did not implement it. Sonia and co did not like it and fought tooth an nail to oppose it. But the scheme became a copyright of Congress. No one can do it without credit going to Congress.

    My suggestion- Sunrise and sunset, country name India, all seasons, Hindi and English language…..
    should all be declared Congress property. Any other party using these words would get indulgent smile from Sonia.
    Our honest media claims anything heard, seen, thought by Sonia automatically Congress property.

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