Thiruvananthapuram: Soon, you could buy groceries from any ration shop in the country using your existing card. A central scheme that allows for this proposal would be implemented in Kerala too. Several states are now implementing the portability facility by linking ration cards to Aadhaar and Point of Sale (PoS) machines installed at ration shops.
The process to implement the Centre's Integrated Management of Public Distribution System (IM-PDS) is on and the scheme could be launched this year itself.
Currently, card owners can buy products from any of the fair price shops in the state as per the limited portability system. This would be extended to the entire country.
The pan-India portability of ration card is beneficial to its holder as well as the dealer as the number of consumers go up. Moreover, increasing patronisation of ration shops by the public would strengthen the Public Distribution system (PDS) and could weed out corruption in the long run. With this scheme being implemented in Kerala that has a large number of migrant labourers, the ration shops in the state too would function more actively.
There have been instances of ration shop owners taking hold of ration products of labourers who go to other states for work. And the labourers do not get ration in the state that they work either. The new scheme would put an end to such issues.
Several people living along the border areas have ration cards of both the states. With the implementation of the IM-PDS, only one ration card would be valid while the other would be automatically get cancelled. Those who are buying ration from one shop cannot buy from another.
Irregular users to lose card
The Centre would ask Kerala to immediately implement the decision to cancel the ration cards of those who are not regularly making use of the facility. Though a decision was made to oust those who have not bought products for more than three months, it is yet to be implemented. About 15 per cent of the 86 lakh ration card owners in the state do not buy ration products. Most of these people are part of the Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) scheme.