Three more States -- Odisha, Sikkim and Mizoram -- have joined the ‘One Nation-One Ration Card’ scheme, taking the number of States and union territories (UTs) which have joined the scheme to 20, Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said on Monday.

By August, Uttarakhand, Nagaland and Manipur will also be added to the national cluster, he added.

Under the ‘One Nation-One Ration Card’ initiative, eligible beneficiaries would be able to avail their entitled foodgrains under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) from any fair price shop in the country using the same ration card. The Food Ministry aims to implement this facility across the country by March 2021.

“Today three more States namely - Odisha, Sikkim and Mizoram have been included in the scheme,” Paswan said in a Statement.

He said necessary infrastructure work -- upgradation of electronic Point of Sale (ePoS) software, integration with central Integrated Management of PDS (IM-PDS) and Annavitran portals, availability of ration cards/beneficiaries data in central repository and requisite testing of national portability transactions -- required for ration card portability has been completed in these three States.

So far, ration card portability has been enabled in 17 States and UTs -- Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Kerala, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Punjab, Telangana, Tripura and Uttar Pradesh.

“Further, constant efforts are being made by this Department to expand the reach of national portability to the beneficiaries of other States/UTs also in association with respective State/UT governments,” Paswan said.

The Food Ministry is doing all necessary arrangements to include remaining 13 States and UTs to the national cluster.

A central technical team has imparted the requisite orientation training to the technical teams and concerned officers of these States through video conferencing and necessary guidelines/instructions for the implementation of national/inter-State portability were also provided to them, Paswan said. He also reiterated that ration cards which have recorded at least one Aadhaar authenticated transaction during the last six months shall be eligible for national portability transactions under this plan.

This feature has been enabled through the central repository of ration cards/beneficiaries maintained by National Informatics Centre (NIC).

The requisite web-services for reporting of portability transaction details to the central dashboard are also enabled for these States with immediate effect and the central NIC team shall be continuously assisting the State governments in seamless roll out of the ‘One Nation-One Ration Card’ plan.

Paswan asked the 20 States/UTs to commence national/inter-State portability transactions in June 2020 so that beneficiaries can take benefit of portability service with immediate effect.