In India, the government issues ration cards, which serve multiple purposes beyond confirming citizen identity and residence. They act as essential documents for acquiring other identification cards like a driving license, Aadhaar card, and passport. However, their primary function is to provide financial assistance to economically disadvantaged Indians, helping them access essential food items at subsidized rates, including rice, wheat, sugar, and kerosene. Let’s explore the advantages and uses of ration cards in India.
Ration Card Advantages and Uses:
Subsidized Food Supplies: Citizens can obtain food supplies at reduced prices from authorized ration shops.
Formal Identification: As a government-issued document, a ration card is recognized as a valid form of identification throughout India.
Voter ID: It can be used to obtain a new voter identification card.
SIM Card Purchase: Ration cards are useful when purchasing a phone SIM card.
Income Tax: They come in handy when paying the correct income tax rates.
PAN Card: Ration cards can be used as identification when applying for a PAN card.
Bank Account: They serve as proof of identity for creating a bank account and transferring money between accounts.
Passport Application: Ration card can be used to apply for a passport.
LPG Connection: They are useful when obtaining a new LPG gas connection.
Life Insurance: Ration card holders can use it to obtain life insurance.
Driver’s License: It can be used to apply for a driver’s license.
Types of Ration Cards in India:
- Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY): This type of ration card is issued to disadvantaged households, including unemployed individuals, women, and the elderly. Cardholders are entitled to 35 kg of grain monthly at subsidized rates.
- Priority Household (PHH): PHH ration cards are for families not covered by AAY. Cardholders receive 5 kg of grains monthly at subsidized prices.
NFSA: Inclusion Guidelines for PHH Ration Cards:
Households without shelter.
Households with destitute members relying on alms.
Primitive Tribal Groups’ households.
Households with widowed pensioners.
Households made up of the poor who rely on alms.
Persons with disabilities over 40%.
NFSA: Exclusion Guidelines for PHH Ration Cards:
Households with pucca houses and at least 3 rooms.
Households paying tax.
Households with members earning over Rs. 10,000 per month (rural) or Rs. 15,000 per month (urban).
Households with regular government employees.
Households with domestic electric connections using over 2 KW monthly.
Households with registered businesses, excluding micro-enterprises.
Families owning motorized vehicles or agricultural machinery.
Issuance of Ration Cards as per TPDS:
Before the implementation of NFSA, ration cards were issued under the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS). These include:
- Below Poverty Line (BPL): Issued to families meeting the state government’s poverty criteria, offering 10 kg to 20 kg of food grains monthly at reduced prices.
- Above Poverty Line (APL): For families above the poverty limit, providing 10 kg to 20 kg of food grains monthly at market prices.
- Annapoorna Yojana (AY): Issued to needy elderly individuals over 65, entitling them to 10 kg of food grains monthly.
In addition to these details, it’s worth noting that various online portals now facilitate applications for services like obtaining a death certificate, birth certificate, and even ration cards. These digital platforms have streamlined and simplified the process, making it more accessible to citizens across India.