Fulfilling the Promise of One Nation One Ration Card

Since its launch in 2019, India’s One Nation One Ration Card scheme has been implemented across the nation. With the support of Omidyar Network India, Dalberg has released an extensive study on this major reform to India’s Public Distribution System. The ONORC initiative was designed to grant beneficiaries easier access to rations from any Fair Price Shop (FPS) in the country, providing a portable safety net.

Though the ONORC scheme was primarily created to provide food safety to migrant families, our research revealed it has also had a positive impact on non-migrants.

Another unexpected outcome we found: beneficiaries now have a greater amount of choice as they can seek better service, introducing competition at the ration shops for the first time.

The study focused on five states: Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh —some of the early adopters of the program where more than 40% of PDS transactions were conducted under portability. Among the first comprehensive reports, it highlights the impact and experience of ONORC on beneficiaries as well as PDS dealers — and calls attention to the gaps and opportunities for the initiative to perform better.

Our report recommends upgrading technology, providing a dynamic system of stock procurement for PDS dealers, and mobilizing awareness programs.

Restructuring India’s public distribution system is an ambitious, and significant exercise. Our hope is that our report helps inform policymakers to further improve and refine the design of this scheme that is key to food security for millions.

Download the full report here.

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