The Portable Ration Card  

As per the directives of the Supreme Court all states and union territories have to implement One Nation, One Ration Card (ONORC) system, which will provide inter- and intra-state portability.

What is ONORC?

This scheme would enable all migrant workers and their family to buy subsidized ration for any fair price shop anywhere in the country under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013.

A migrant worker for instance, from Bihar/Bengal would be able to reap benefits under this scheme. While they are in Kerala/Punjab, where they had gone looking for work. They can obtain food grains entitled to them under the NFSA where they live, while their families back home can still access ration from their local ration shop.

To advance this reform in the Public Distribution System (PDS), the government has even provided stimulus to the states.

How does the ONORC works?

The ONORC is based on a tech-driven system, which involves details of the beneficiaries’ ration card, Aadhaar number, and electronic Points of Sale (ePoS). The biometric authentication system on the ePoS device present at the fair price shop would allow the system to recognize a recipient. The system relies on two portals-Integrated Management of Public Distribution System (IM-PDS) ( and Annavitran (, which comprises all the necessary data.

Here is how it works: when a ration card holder goes to the fair price shop, they are first identified using the biometric authentication on ePoS, which is matched real time with details on the Annavitaran portal. After the verification is cleared, the shopkeeper hands over the ration to the beneficiary. The Annavitran portal manages the record of intra-state transactions — inter-district and intra-district, while the IM-PDS portals maintain the inter-state transactions.

Factors that led to the launch of ONORC

Previously NFSA recipients were unable to retrieve their PDS benefits outside their jurisdiction of the fair price shop allotted to them. The purpose of the scheme was to allow, the ease with which one could be access their entitlements from any ration shop across India. This would be possible only after complete linking of Aadhaar card has been achieved and all the fair price shops have been installed with the ePoS devices (at present only 4.74 lakh devices are installed across the nation).

Although the work on the portable ration card project started in April 2018, but was launched in August 2019. This delayed was plagued due to inefficiency and leakages.

This was a part of the Covid19 economic relief package presented by the government in all states and Union Territories.

Coverage till now

At present 32 states and UT have joined the ONORC, covering approximately 69 crore NFSA beneficiaries, with the exception of Assam, Chhattisgarh, Delhi and West Bengal.

“A total of more than 27.83 Crore portability transactions (including intra-state transactions) have taken place all across these States/UTs since the inception of ONORC in August 2019, out of which almost 19.8 Crore portability transactions have been recorded during the COVID-19 period of April 2020 to May 2021 itself,” the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution stated.

This scheme would benefit 81 crore ration card holders to reap benefits anywhere across the country, while ensuring that their families back home get the amenities at the subsidiary rate as well.