One Nation One Ration Card is a flagship plan which aims to empower all National Food Security Act migrant beneficiaries (BPL) to access foodgrains from any Fair Price Shop of their choice anywhere in the country by using their same OR existing ration card with biometric authentication to get the benefit of the Scheme.
The recent experience of the pandemic has created chaos for migrant workers who had lost their jobs. It raised the question of livelihood and put a question on the right to food which is a constitutional right as well as the universal human right under the universal declaration of human rights 1948. It also comes under the right to life under article 21 of the constitution but due to the COVID 19 pandemic this situation created a dilemma for everyone.
Through its landmark decision in the public interest litigation Petition in 2001, People’s Union for Civil Liberties vs Union of India & Others;
The Supreme Court explicitly established a constitutional human right to food and determined a basic nutritional floor for India’s impoverished millions.
Let’s discuss the future benefit as well as some concerns which are going to be there. First, we will discuss the benefits then the issues and the concerns.
One Nation One Ration Card scheme makes food security portable which means that the people from one state can avail these benefits in other states too. However, earlier it was not like that, the beneficiary could avail the benefit in their own state only. Due to which these schemes were unreachable to the poorest of the poor who had migrated for their livelihood to other states.
Technology reforms will bring convergence as well as integration of all data. It will also provide the targeted approach in the Public Distribution System in the country. It led to the reform of the Scheme according to its performance and brought the transformed version, which included every eligible one.
Malnutrition and hunger in India is widespread and the basic aim of food security through the national food security Act is to bring down the Malnutrition and hunger at zero level as sustainable development goals are focusing to achieve zero hunger by 2030 the one ration card in one nation bring the inclusion of all beneficiaries.
It enables the beneficiaries to lift their food grains from any FPS of choice, it primarily aims to enable migratory NFSA beneficiaries mostly labourers, daily-wagers, urban poor like ragpickers, street-dwellers, temporary workers in organised and unorganised sectors, domestic workers, etc. who frequently travel in search of better opportunities or for any other reasons, to access the Public Distribution System.
Removing the ghost beneficiary by using the technological advancement and integration of databases led to removing the ghost beneficiary as early it is experienced that many of the people are not eligible according to the rule but through corruption and nexus, they get the benefit in the name of others.
Universalisation and uniformity will bring high efficiency and effectiveness in the scheme and it will provide the inclusive approach towards poor and inter and inter-states coordination will bring targeted approach leading to the high success of schemes.
Empowering consumers by creating choice as early migration from one state to other states excluded the beneficiary but now the consumer or beneficiary having the choice to benefit from the Scheme from anywhere in the country.
Social justice and welfare approaches as our country is focused on the welfare approach provided in the Directive Principles of State Policy part 4 of the constitution. It is the state that should focus to uplift the poor by making policies enshrined in the Directive Principles.
Technological advancements have reduced human-made errors. The reports tell that human error led to the failure of the schemes but with timely intervention in the past System, it will become relevant in the technological Era.
ISSUES AND CONCERNS:
Technical readiness of these States to implement the portability of ration cards as every state is not able to spend huge money in convergence on technical services. Also, the logistic and storage facility is not available to every state as the migration led to changing demographic data led to fluctuations in planning and execution.
Consensus in states is a conflict between center and states as the one size fit is not suitable for a federal country like India. Also, we are talking about cooperative federalism where states should be at the forefront of any Scheme and flexibility should be provided to states.
Exclusions and inclusion errors will be there as we don’t have the data of migration of people since it is temporary in nature and changes with time which leads to a miscalculation by the states for demand and supply of the foodgrains which will ultimately lead to wastage. Data assimilation of mobility is a challenge and revision of data is questionable as to how and when the states revise these data and which sources are used for revisions of data are also a big concern for states.
Integration and overlapping of the various schemes are also there so the need of the hour is to integrate and remove overlapping which reduces the efficiency and effectiveness of schemes.
State-based other schemes are becoming the competitor of the center schemes and the state focus on the state schemes led to the reduced reach of center planned schemes sp convergence of specific schemes with flexibility must be there.
Low aadhar seeding and error in technologies are the major problems as there are problems of awareness and linking of aadhar is compulsory which makes the scheme rigid. The rural poor are facing biometric authentication problems in old age leading to exclusion of the poor. Resistance to technology is also a problem as it is human nature to resist the new technology.
The one Nation one ration card would be a great chance to provide nutrition as well as food grains to the needy one but the concern should be removed with timely intervention as its intention is clear that it will cover the basic need of life which is food but the state handle and the regional disparity especially in the backward States and hilly states should be removed with centre support.
This article is written by;
Mr. Pankaj Kumar Gupta
(Email ID: [email protected])