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Centre Asks Delhi Govt To Resume E-Pos Devices At Earliest At Ration Shops

The government's Mera Ration mobile app available in over 10 regional languages would help Delhi residents to draw their ration with ease

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The Centre on Tuesday asked the Delhi government to resume at the earliest e-PoS devices in the public distribution system (PDS), as this will help about 10 lakh migrant ration card holders in the national capacity to draw their quota of grains from the home state.

The Delhi government in April 2018 temporarily suspended distribution of ration through the e-PoS (electronic point of sale) system.

In a letter written to the Delhi government, Union Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey said e-PoS machines are necessary not only for transparent distribution of subsidised foodgrains under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) but also for the implementation of One Nation-One Ration Card (ONORC).

Since ONORC is a technology-driven process to enable intra-state and inter-state portability of ration card holders, it is highly dependent on availability of e-PoS devices at all fair price shops (FPSs), also called ration shops, he said.

Pandey said the implementation of ONORC initiative for migrants has been impeded due to non-functioning of e-PoS devices at FPSs.

He added, 'Considering the prevailing situation of the COVID-19 pandemic and looking at the difficulty faced by migrants, facility of inter-state portability will ensure delivery of ration to a large number of migrant workers in Delhi.' All NFSA migrant workers (estimated to be over 10 lakh) in Delhi will be able to draw their ration card by debit to their home state. This means there will be no additional burden to the Delhi government, he said.

'In view of immense advantages to people, I shall be grateful for your personal intervention for expeditious resumption of e-PoS devices in all FPSs of Delhi for transparency in distribution of foodgrains and ensure the implementation of ONORC plan at the earliest.

'This Department stands committed to extend all technical support to the state, if required,' Pandey said in the letter.

Highlighting the benefits of ONORC initiative, the secretary said all ration card holders of Delhi who change their residences frequently will be able to draw ration from any ration shop which is close by without changing residential address or the ration card.

The secretary said experiences in other states have shown that the ONORC implementation has led to empowerment of beneficiaries as they have the choice to change their ration dealer without the interference of bureaucracy or red tape at ground level.

Due to the right of choice shifting to beneficiaries, implementation of ONORC has led to improved behavior and conduct by ration shop dealers and improvement in their services, he said.

The government's Mera Ration mobile app available in over 10 regional languages would help Delhi residents to draw their ration with ease, he said.

Lastly, any Delhi residents moving out of Delhi to any neighbouring or any other state of lndia would be able to draw the ration without having to apply for local ration card, he added.

Already, 32 states and Union Territories are brought under the ONORC despite the multitude of COVID-19-related challenges.

(PTI)