All You Need to Know About Ration Cards: Types, Schemes, and More

Ration Cards have been around for ages in India and were primarily introduced to provide subsidized food sources to the underprivileged sections of the Indian population. Rates that are under Ration Card subsidies are highly reduced in price, whereby economically deprived individuals can buy rice, wheat, and other grains to fulfill basic human hunger needs. With this basic goal in view, millions of individuals benefit from different types of ration cards issued according to income groups.

All You Need to Know About Ration Cards
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Ration Card Schemes

There are quite a few ration card schemes in India, and state governments largely adopt these but remain generalized across India as the allotment of different types of ration cards takes place depending on families’ incomes. However, according to the government website at Controller of Rationing and Director of Civil Supplies (controller, a tri-color ration card plan has been in effect since May 1999.

State governments have laid emphasis on the fact that individuals who live above the poverty line do not require the use of ration cards, as affordability is not a problem. Therefore, the government has mainly made ration cards available to families under the BPL or ‘Below Poverty Line’ umbrella to ensure ration card facilities for needy families and equal distribution of food rations. 

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Types of Ration Cards

Under the scheme of issuance of ration cards, the following main types are available through state government websites. Once an individual applies for a ration card, the ration card status can easily be checked online at the government website. To know about ration card eligibility, it’s important to be aware of what types of ration cards are available: 

Yellow Ration Cards

Families with a yearly income of Rs. 15,000 or below can avail of these ration cards. In addition to income eligibility, such families should not own agricultural land, possess a professional educational degree, have a residential phone or have a vehicle of any sort, or be liable to pay tax, among other criteria.

Orange Ration Cards

These ration cards are issued to families with an annual income of Rs. 15,001 to Rs. 1 lakh. None of such family members should own more than 4 hectares of agricultural land or possess a four-wheeler vehicle.

White Ration Cards

Given to families that earn an annual income of Rs. 1 lakh or more, the white ration card may be used by families owning a four-wheeler or land of more than 4 hectares. 

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AAY Ration Cards

Under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) scheme provides, ration cards to extremely poor families.  These four economic ration card categories have been determined based on the total income of a household with a family head. All family members must live as a single unit and should not be a part of any other family unit. 


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