Ration cards are an essential document for those who need basic food supplies at highly subsidised rates. Now, in light of increasing digitalisation of documents and paperwork, the Central Government is taking ration cards online.
To remove the possibility of people issuing duplicate or fake ration cards, the Central Government will also set up a real-time database of these cards.
The project will be set up under the National Food Security Mission and aims to minimise the possibility of fake identity cards misused by people. According to the Times of India, an Integrated Management of PDS (Public Distribution System) Network or IMPDSN will begin next month in phases. It will follow the system of the GSTIN (GST Identification Number.)
Each ration card will carry a unique identity number, which will go to the online database.
This will help the authorities scan and check to see if a new applicant has already been issued a ration card in any other part of the country. An official told TOI, “The IMPDSN mechanism will help one state to get access to the data of another state. We have linked more than 80% of ration cards to the Aadhaar number, and Aadhaar seeding has been done for 60% of all individual beneficiaries. The integration of Aadhaar and IMPDSN will put an end to any malpractice.”
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The digitalisation of the ration cards will not only help in tracking of the identity cards but also holds great importance for ration card holders. Under this scheme, a person with a ration card will be allowed to avail subsidised prices at any designated fair price shop in their state.
Currently, ration card holders are allowed to avail discounted priced food grains from shops in their own village or locality. Migrant labourers, thus, have a very hard time getting food grains from the area they have shifted to.
Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Haryana and Rajasthan are the only four states to allow intra-state portability system to avail prices from fair price shops. The official told TOI, “We will start a pilot on portability among these four states, and then it will be extended to all states.”
Edited by Gayatri Mishra.