As many as 77 crore people in the country have been covered under the 'One Nation One Ration Card' scheme through which beneficiaries can take their share of food grains from anywhere in the country, Union Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Minister Piyush Goyal said on Wednesday.
Goyal said in Lok Sabha that the technology driven initiative was conceptualised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, taking into account the problems being faced by migrant workers in getting government benefits.
He said the scheme is now available in 35 states and union territories covering 77 crore beneficiaries.
Through this facility, while a migrant beneficiary is able to get ration at the destination he or she is working in, his or her family back home is also allowed to get their part of the entitled ration to support itself, he said during the Question Hour.
The minister said the problems of getting a new ration card and duplicity of beneficiaries are solved and they can get the food grains by just giving their Aadhaar number.
He said the scheme enables migrant beneficiaries to get their food grains from a fair price shop of their choice by using their same or existing ration card with biometric authentication of identity.
The scheme is being implemented without any discrimination and seven crore people have so far taken the benefits of portability, he said.
The minister said under the scheme, the central government has distributed free food gains of 5 kg each to the beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojna for 19 months during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is a matter of immense pride that due to the Prime Minister's initiative, not a single person remained hungry during the pandemic. People have also blessed us for that, he said, indicating the ruling BJP's victory in the recent series of assembly elections.
Goyal said the technology driven scheme allows nation-wide portability of the ration card beneficiaries, particularly migrant people, to lift their entitled food grains from any fair price shop of their choice, anywhere in the country.
No one is required to physically carry their ration card to avail the benefit of portability. They only have to quote their ration card number or Aadhaar number to any shop of their choice, he said.
Replying to a supplementary question, Goyal said the government has no plans to provide cash to the beneficiaries instead of the food grains as the money may not be used for the intended purpose.
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