Model Question and Answers for APSC | One Nation One Ration card can transform the lives of migrant workers in India. Critically discuss.
Ans : At present, the beneficiary receives their entitlement upon furnishing a ration card at a specified FPS tied to their place of residence. One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC) system will enable beneficiaries to buy subsidized food grains from any Fair Price Shop (FPS) across the country using their existing ration card.
The potential to transform the lives of migrant workers:
1.It would facilitate the claims of any PDS cardholder at any location across these geographical and political jurisdictions.
2.It implies that 54.26 million inter-state migrants (as per 2011 census) who get potentially excluded from the PDS would have food and nutritional security at their place of work.
3.It would ensure that migrants would not need to undergo transactional costs involved in
identification of beneficiaries while seeking a new ration card.
4.It would also benefit seasonal migrants which is somewhere around 10 crore as they would not need to renew their ration cards every season.
5. A central repository of all NFSA ration cards and beneficiaries would ensure that the workers' ration cards are not misused in his absence from the place of origin.
6.It would solve the accessibility issues wherein gender, caste and class also play a role in access to food.
7.The ONORC scheme effectively democratises the distribution network and shifts agency and choice towards the individual beneficiary.
However, there are various challenges in implementation:
1. Storage and distribution infrastructure, updation of data systems, inter-state coordination etc
2.Issues of federalism and inter-state coordination
3.Issues in operationalization at Fair Price Shops.
4. Around 85.41% of ration cards have been linked to Aadhaar up until August 2019, still leaving out a significant number.
5. Further internet connectivity is a must for a central repository to work, but internet penetration remains low in India, especially in rural areas.
Going further, to ensure a smooth rollout of the scheme, migration data on people engaged in informal work within the state, capturing information on the patterns of migration and especially seasonal or circular migration needs to be worked on.