Updated: August 4, 2021 12:14:57 pm
The West Bengal government has agreed to implement the Centre’s “One Nation One Ration Card” scheme with immediate effect. The order dated July 29 came two days before the Supreme Court’s July 31 deadline for states to implement the scheme.
In the order, the state Food and Supplies Department said, “It has been decided by the Government of West Bengal to implement the ‘One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC)’ Plan under the scheme of Integrated Management of Public Distribution System (IM-PDS) that aims to implement nationwide portability in the distribution of subsidized food grains to eligible ration card holders under NFSA [National Food Security Act] who migrate or move across States or UTs in search of temporary employment or work or other reasons and gets deprived from accessing their quota of subsidized food grains, since the ration card is tagged to a particular FPS in home State or UT.”
The state food department added, “On implementation of this, the ration card holders under NFSA whose ration card has been linked with Aadhaar and validated shall be able to lift or receive their entitled quota of subsidized food grains from any e-PoS enabled Fair Price Shop (FPS) of their choice, anywhere in the country, by using their existing ration card issued in the home State or UT after establishing their identity through Aadhar based biometric authentication on e-PoS device.”
The order urged all fair price shop (FPS) dealers to make the e-PoS online system available. It added, “To make the scheme successful, all FPS dealers, situated in West Bengal, are required to make available their e-PoS online at scheduled operational hours in all transaction days mandatorily. All foodgrain distribution should be done through online mode of e-PoS so that every transactional data should be stored in online server and NFSA beneficiaries going outside West Bengal and want to draw foodgrains from any FPSs outside West Bengal can draw the same without any hindrance. Besides, NFSA beneficiaries coming from outside West Bengal and intending to draw their entitled foodgrains from any FPSs of the State should be given the entitled quantity of foodgrain after successful Aadhaar based biometric authentication.”
A senior government official said, “We have a huge number of migrant workers. Now, the state government realises that if the ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ scheme is not implemented then migrant workers will be deprived. So, we decided to implement it.”
On Tuesday, BJP MP Locket Chatterjee asked in Parliament if the West Bengal government had implemented the scheme. In response, the Centre said the state had yet to implement it, adding that thousands of migrant workers were being deprived of ration because of that.
Earlier, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had pointed out that her administration’s “Khadya Sathi” scheme was more effective and covered more people than the Centre’s initiative.
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