Introduction: In India, the issuance of ration cards by the government serves a dual purpose. These cards not only confirm the identity and residential address of citizens but also provide access to subsidized groceries and essential utility supplies. Beyond these functions, ration cards can be used to obtain other crucial documents like a driving license, Aadhaar card, and passport, making them a versatile form of identification. These cards play a vital role in ensuring that people can meet their basic daily needs through government welfare programs.
Advantages and Uses of Ration Cards:
Access to Subsidized Food Supplies: Ration cardholders can purchase food supplies at reduced prices from authorized ration shops. This support helps in ensuring that even the economically disadvantaged can afford essential groceries.
Formal Identification: Since ration cards are issued by the government, they serve as a recognized form of formal identification across India. This is useful for various administrative and legal processes.
Obtaining Voter ID Cards: Ration cards can be used to apply for a new voter identification card, enabling citizens to participate in the democratic process.
Simplifying SIM Card Purchases: When acquiring a phone SIM card, ration cards can be presented as a valid proof of identity.
Tax Compliance: Ration cards also come in handy when ensuring that individuals pay the correct income tax rates, contributing to the country’s revenue.
Facilitating PAN Card Applications: When applying for a PAN card (Permanent Account Number), a ration card can be used as a reliable form of identification.
Banking and Money Transfers: For those looking to create a bank account or transfer money across accounts, the ration card serves as a proof of identity.
Passport Application: Ration cards can be used as an identity document when applying for a passport, simplifying the process for citizens.
LPG Connection: When obtaining a new LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) connection, the ration card can be presented as proof of identification.
Life Insurance: Citizens can use their ration card to obtain life insurance policies, ensuring financial security for their families.
Driver’s License: Ration cardholders can also use their cards as proof of identity when applying for a driver’s license.
Types of Ration Cards in India: Under the National Food and Security Act (NFSA), India categorizes households into two main types of ration cards:
Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY):Issued to disadvantaged households.
Beneficiaries include unemployed individuals, women, and the elderly without a steady income source.
Entitles cardholders to 35 kg of grains per month.
Offers rice at Rs 3 per kg, wheat at Rs 2 per kg, and coarse grains at Rs 1 per kg.
Priority Household (PHH):Provided to families not covered by AAY.
Selected by state governments based on specific criteria.
Cardholders can avail 5 kg of grains per month.
Foodgrains are subsidized at Rs 3 per kg for rice, Rs 2 per kg for wheat, and Rs 1 per kg for coarse grains.
Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria for NFSA Ration Cards: NFSA Ration Cards are allocated based on inclusion and exclusion criteria:
Households without shelter.
Households with destitute members reliant on alms.
Primitive Tribal Groups’ households.
Households with widowed pensioners.
Individuals with disabilities exceeding 40%.
Households owning motorized vehicles or agricultural machinery.
Households with monthly income exceeding Rs 10,000 (rural) or Rs 15,000 (urban).
Pensioners with monthly income exceeding Rs 10,000 (rural) or Rs 15,000 (urban).
Households with registered enterprises (excluding micro-enterprises).
Households paying income tax or professional tax.
Households with domestic electric connections consuming a monthly average of 300 KWH.
Households with three or more rooms with solid walls and roofs.
Issuance of Ration Cards: Ration cards in India are distributed under two systems:
National Food and Security Act (NFSA):The NFSA targets up to 75% of the rural and 50% of the urban population for food grain subsidies through the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS).
Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS):
TPDS ration cards include:Below Poverty Line (BPL): For households meeting state-defined poverty criteria, offering subsidized food grains.
Above Poverty Line (APL): For households exceeding the poverty threshold, providing food grains at market prices.
Annapoorna Yojana (AY): Issued to elderly individuals over 65 years, granting them 10 kg of foodgrains monthly.
Conclusion: Ration cards in India play a pivotal role in ensuring food security for economically disadvantaged citizens while serving as a versatile identification document. With the a online portals and digital services, applying for various services has become more easy, including birth certificates, death certificates, and ration cards, has become more accessible and efficient, simplifying bureaucratic processes and benefiting citizens across the nation.