How to Apply & Download Ration Card in India (Free)

A Ration Card is an official document that the Indian government issues to eligible citizens, allowing them to buy necessities at discounted prices. It acts as documentation of residency and identity. A unique identification number and information about each member of the household are usually included on the card.

The various types of ration cards—Below Poverty Line (BPL), Above Poverty Line (APL), and Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY)—each designating a different degree of assistance. The main goal is to make sure that economically disadvantaged populations receive an equitable share of food grains and other necessities.

A few important facts regarding ration cards in India

  • Ration cards are official identity documents that allow their holders to purchase necessities from approved fair price stores at deeply discounted prices, including rice, wheat, sugar, kerosene, and other items.
  • Ration cards are issued by state governments based on certain eligibility criteria related to income level. Some common types include APL (Above Poverty Line), BPL (Below Poverty Line) and Antyodaya cards.
  • Having a ration card also serves as a proof of identity and residence to avail other welfare schemes and government services.
  • Through the One Nation One Ration Card program, the federal government has been working on ration card portability so that recipients can obtain ration supplies from any fair price store in the nation.
  • Under the Public Distribution System, ration card data is also being linked to Aadhaar cards in order to more effectively target beneficiaries, eliminate duplication, and lower theft.
  • The eligibility, required documents and application process to get a new ration card vary from state to state. Most states today also offer options to apply online.
  • State governments have also switched from paper ration cards to more durable plastic ration card with sophisticated security features over time. A recent trend has been the adoption of e-ration cards that are accessible through mobile applications.