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ONORC deadline nears, Delhi govt holds training sessions to enforce policy

Using ONORC, migrants with ration cards registered in other states can collect food grains from any fair price shop in the national capital.

Written by Sourav Roy Barman | New Delhi |
Updated: July 11, 2021 1:19:50 am
Migrant labourers at Anand Vihar bus terminal in New Delhi. (Express Photo: Praveen Khanna)

With the Supreme Court ordering the implementation of the ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ (ONORC) policy across the country by July 31, the Delhi government has launched an elaborate exercise to meet the deadline.

Apart from Delhi, West Bengal, Assam and Chhattisgarh have not yet implemented the policy, according to a submission made by the Centre to the Supreme Court last month.

Delhi has so far rolled out ONORC in just one of the 70 circles that come under the Food and Supplies Department that controls the Public Distribution System, under which subsidised food grains — primarily wheat and rice — are given to ration card holders, classified under normal and Antyodaya categories based on levels of income.

As per official records, the Delhi government’s food department has been holding sessions since July 6 to train owners and managers of the 2,005 ration shops to operate e-POS machines, which is mandatorily required to roll out ONORC.

As per a department order, ration shop owners have been directed to use e-POS machines only after receiving training. Following training, each ration shop is expected to carry out 50 trial transactions using e-POS.

However, at the Seemapuri circle, where ONORC was launched on a pilot basis in April, there have been very few transactions under the policy in the last two months. Records show there were 157 and 373 ONORC transactions in May and June, respectively. Ration distribution for July has not started yet.

Using ONORC, migrants with ration cards registered in other states can collect food grains from any fair price shop in the capital. The Centre had last month questioned the approach of the Delhi government in implementing the policy, saying “at least 10 lakh migrants are being deprived of the benefits of the ration card portability scheme”.

The disbursal of ration through e-POS devices took place across Delhi during a brief period in early 2018. On April 25, operations were suspended by the Delhi government citing irregularities such as misuse of OTPs. Since then, the Centre has been writing to the Delhi government to resume the system.

There are approximately 17.77 lakh ration card holding families in Delhi. Public distribution system welfare association president Shailendra Kumar said instead of waiting till July 31, the government should roll out the policy at the earliest so that beneficiaries can avail the facility in July itself.

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