Barathkumar K M, III year B.B.A.,LL.B.(Hons.)
Ration Cards are official documents issued by the State Governments to make sure that the households are eligible to purchase the products from the Public Distribution System under the National Food Security Act.
There are two types of ration cards under the National Food Security Act.
1. Priority Household (PHH) ration cards- these cardholders have the eligibility to get 5 kilograms of food grain per member per month.
2. Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) ration cards- these cardholders have the eligibility to get 35 kilograms of food grain per month.
Before the National Food Security Act, there were three types of ration cards:
· Above Poverty Line (APL) - these cardholders can have the eligibility to get 15 kilograms of food grain per month
· Below Poverty Line (BPL) - these cardholders have the eligibility to get 25-35 kilograms of food grain per month
· Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) - these cardholders have the eligibility to get 35 kilograms of food grain per month.
One ration card to the whole country
Due to COVID-19 pandemic, many workers migrated to their hometown. The Government officials held that nearly 4 crore workers were migrated during the lockdown. So the government announced an ambitious project of ‘one nation and one ration card’ for these migrant workers. In 2019, this scheme was implemented in four states. From January 1, 2020, this scheme was implemented in 12 states. Till now, 24 states were implemented in this scheme. Under the ‘one nation one ration card scheme’ any citizen in India has the eligibility to get food grain from the Public Distribution System shops (PDS shop) throughout the country. Because of the implementation of this scheme, there is only one type of ration card in the entire country.
The workers who are declared as the Below Poverty Line (BPL) in their respective states/Union Territories will be eligible to get the benefit under the one nation one ration card scheme.
1. Not necessary to get a new ration card- To get benefits under this scheme it is not necessary to get a new ration card. Once a state government implements this scheme, all previous ration cardholders will be able to get the food grain from the Public Distribution System.
2. Verification- The beneficiaries of this scheme will be verified through biometric authentication i.e Aadhar based identification through the electronic Point of Sale (PoS) device.
3. Language- Every state in India has a different native language. According to this scheme every state has been requested to issue the ration card in the bi-lingual format. One language in their native language and the other language could be in English or Hindi.
4. 10 digit standard ration card number- According to this new scheme every ration card will have a 10 digit standard ration card number. The first two-digit number will denote the state or Union Territory.
5. Any citizen can apply- Any Indian citizen can apply for this ration card.
Food grain- Under this new scheme every household will get 35 kilograms of food grain (25 kilograms of rice and 10 kilograms of wheat). The price of wheat is Rs. 3 per kg and the price of rice is Rs. 2 per kg.
Under this new scheme, a migrant worker can get the food grain from any People Distribution System (PDS) across the country. Thus, this scheme will help the migrant worker to get food grain and it will reduce the hunger death rate in the country. This new scheme will also reduce black marketing at the PDS shop. Hence, the migrant workers will be benefited under this new scheme.
Though the ‘one nation one ration card scheme’ has many advantages it also has some defects to implement this scheme across the whole country. The major defect is not all the Price Distribution System shop has the electronic Point of Sale (PoS) device. It was stated that only 77% of the PDS shops have a PoS device. It was suggested that all the state and Union Territory should make sure that all PDS shops have the PoS device.