Fulfilling the promise of ONORC
The One Nation One Ration Card scheme, launched in 2019, shows potential to be one of the most far-reaching reforms to India’s Public Distribution System. Historically, low income households have relied upon the PDS for food security since its creation in the 1940s and this new initiative built around the idea that food security benefits should be ‘portable’ could unlock manifold benefits. Could this be the means by which a migrant worker from Bihar who travels to a new state in search of work may buy food grains as per his or her entitlement at a Fair Price Shop of their choice rather than be forced to pay higher prices at regular shops? While not an intended goal of the scheme, might the ONORC allow even non-migrant citizens new conveniences and an efficient way to use a Fair Price Shop of their choice? With the support of Omidyar Network India, Dalberg released an extensive study titled ‘Fulfilling the promise of One Nation One Ration Card’. It is among the first comprehensive reports, to highlight the impact and experience of ONORC on beneficiaries as well as PDS dealers — and acknowledges the gaps.