To provide subsidised foodgrains under the public distribution system to migrant workers in cities who do not have ration cards, the government will launch a national portal for registration of these workers.
According to Sudhanshu Pandey, secretary, ministry of food and public distribution, a large section of migrant population living in cities do have ration cards as they do not have proof of residence, which deprive them of getting subsidized foodgrains under the National Food Security Act (NFSA).
Through online registration and followed by biometric authentication, the centre will inform the states concerned on issuing ration cards to workers engaged in the various activities such as maid, security guards, construction workers etc in cities.
NFSA provides for maximum coverage for about 813 million people as per Census 2011. However, currently around 797 million people are covered under NFSA.
Pandey said that there is a possibility of adding another 16 million beneficiaries under NFSA by providing ration cards to the migrant population in the city.
Once ration cards are issued in their respective states, migrant workers can avail benefits under NFSA under the one nation one ration card (ONORC) initiative launched in 2019.
Under the ONORC, the portability of ration cards has been ensured through which ration-card-holders lift their quota of grain entitlement from any fair price shop in the country by using the ration card issued in their home states or Union Territory after biometric authentication.
Since the launch of ONORC, 778 million portable transactions – 60% under the NFSA and the rest 49% under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyana Anna have taken place under ONORC.
According to a food ministry statement on Tuesday, subsidised food grains worth Rs 43,000 crore is delivered to beneficiaries through ration card portability so far.
To ensure ration-card portability, the Centre had requested states to issue the ration card in the bi-lingual format—local language and Hindi or English. A 10-digit standard ration card number was assigned to beneficiaries, wherein the first two digits denoted the state code. Along with 10 digits, a set of another two digits was appended with the ration card number to create unique member IDs for each beneficiary in a ration card.