Must Knows

What are the different types of ration cards in India?

[] Discussed in this article are the different types of ration cards, their benefits and features.

The Indian government issues ration cards, which serve as confirmation of citizen identification and residential address and allow Indians to receive subsidised groceries and basic utility supplies. It could be used to create other important documents such as a driving licence, Aadhaar card, and passport as an identity verification document. 

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However, the most significant purpose of the ration card is to assist financially disadvantaged Indians in obtaining vital foodstuffs such as rice, wheat, sugar, and kerosene at low costs. It assists these people in meeting their fundamental everyday requirements through welfare schemes.

Ration Card Advantages and Uses

  • Citizens can obtain food supplies at reduced prices from a ration shop. 
  • Since a ration card is issued by the government, it is a recognised form of formal identification across India. 
  • One can obtain a new voter identification card.
  • Ration card are also useful when purchasing a phone SIM card.
  • Ration cards are also beneficial when paying the correct income tax rates.
  • When filing for a PAN card, a ration card could be used as identification.
  • For creating a bank account and transferring money across bank accounts, it serves as a proof of identity. 
  • One can use a ration card in order to apply for a passport.
  • It is also useful when obtaining a new LPG line.
  • Citizen can obtain life insurance.
  • Citizens can use the ration card to obtain a driver’s licence.

Types of Ration Cards in India

As per NFSA

The National Food and Security Act (NFSA) authorises up to 75% of the rural populace and 50% of the urban populace to receive food grain subsidies through the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS). Through the TPDS, it intends to offer and handle the problem of food security in households.

Ration cards are provided by the individual state governments under the 2013 NFSA. Food is distributed at fair pricing shops in accordance with the volume and quality specified in the NFSA. 

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The following NFSA ration cards are available.

Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY)

  • It is a form of ration card distributed by state governments to disadvantaged households.
  • This card is given to people that do not have a steady source of income.
  • Unemployed persons, women, and the elderly belong to this category.
  • These card holders qualify for 35 kg of grain monthly per family.
  • They get rice at a lower fare of Rs 3 per kg, wheat at Rs 2 per kg, and coarse grains at Rs 1 per kg.

Priority Household (PHH)

  • PHH applies to families who are not covered by AAY.
  • Under the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS), state governments choose priority home families based on their exclusive and inclusive criteria.
  • PHH cardholders are entitled to 5 kg of grains monthly.
  • Foodgrains are subsidised at Rs 3 per kg for rice, Rs 2 for wheat, and Rs 1 for coarse grains for them.

NFSA: Inclusion guidelines

  • A transgender individual.
  • A person who is disabled to a greater than 40% degree.
  • All homes that are members of primitive tribal organisations.
  • Households without a roof.
  • Households that have a widowed pensioner.
  • Households made up of the poor who rely on alms.

NFSA: Exclusion guidelines

  • Any home with a pucca roof and at least 3 rooms having pucca walls.
  • Households paying tax.
  • Households with a member earning more than Rs 10,000 per month in rural areas and Rs 15,000 in urban areas.
  • Households having a regular employee – gazetted or non-gazetted – of the State, Central Government,  Public Sector Undertakings, Government-assisted local and autonomous entities.
  • Homes with a domestic electrical line and a load of 2 KW or more utilise around 300 KWH monthly.
  • Households with government-registered businesses for manufacturing and services.
  • Any family with a motorised vehicle, four-wheeler, heavy vehicle, trawler, or two or even more motorboats.
  • Households with agricultural machinery such as tractors and harvesters.

Issuance of ration card as per TPDS

Prior to the implementation of the NFSA, state governments provided rations based on the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS). Following the passage of the NFSA, states began distributing ration cards under it. The state governments that have yet to implement the NFSA system continue to use the old TPDS ration cards. They are as follows:

Below Poverty Line (BPL)

  • Families with BPL cards are those who fall under the state government’s definition of poverty.
  • BPL households receive 10 kg to 20 kg of food grains monthly at half the market cost.
  • The state-specific subsidised final retail price for prescribed amounts of wheat, rice, sugar, and other goods varies. Each state government establishes varying prices based on quantity.

Above Poverty Line (APL)

  • Families with this card are those who earn more than the state government-defined poverty limit.
  • APL households get 10kg to 20kg of food grains monthly at a price of 100% of the market cost.
  • Each state government establishes a subsidised retail price for rice, wheat, sugar, and kerosene oil for a specific quantity.

Annapoorna Yojana (AY)

  • AY ration cards are issued to needy elderly persons over the age of 65.
  • This card entitles cardholders to 10 kg of foodgrains every month.
  • State governments give these cards to aged persons who fall under the scope of this plan.

How do you renew your ration card?

You can renew your ration card by completing the guidelines below:

Step 1: Send an SMS with the keyword RCREN to 9212357123.

Step 2: On your mobile phone number, you will then get a token number as well as a security code.

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Step 3: Then, go to the closest ration card Seva Kendra and finish the biometric process.

Step 4: To locate your local service centre, click the ‘service centre link‘ link.

Step 5: At the time of making an application, you will be required to give an Aadhaar-based biometric verification for yourself and your family members. The authentication process is not required for children under the age of five; nevertheless, the Aadhaar card is required. After that, this application will be forwarded for renewal.

This service will cost you Rs 50.


Is it mandatory to link an aadhaar card to a ration card?

Yes, according to the government notice, linking your Aadhaar card to a ration card is required in order to obtain benefits. This is done to prevent duplication and to guarantee that eligible families do not lose the advantages of ration cards by prohibiting a single family from holding several ration cards.

Is it possible to add other family members to my ration card?

Yes. You can add relatives to your ration card, such as your spouse, children, or daughter-in-law. Members can be added online or manually by supplying the necessary documentation.

What is the income limit for APL cards?

Families with an annual income ranging from Rs 15,000 to Rs 1,00,000 are eligible for APL cards.

What are the colours of ration cards?

Ration cards have three colours, namely yellow, orange and white. The issuing of a colour ration card and the features differs from one state to another state.

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Category: Must Knows

Debora Berti

Università degli Studi di Firenze, IT

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