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Colour Ration Card

India’s ration card system is devolved to state level, which means that each state has its own system for distributing food to people who qualify for a ration card. People apply for cards in the state where they are living, and if you move from one state to another your old card will no longer be valid and you will be required to apply for a new one.  Although there are differences in the way in which ration cards are administered from state to state, nationally there are three main groups which are entitled to ration cards. For simplicity and ease of identification, each group’s cards are usually a different colour.

Antyodaya Card

This is the type of ration card which is issued to the poorest people in Indian society, those who have no regular income coming into the household.  Many of the people who fall into this category include people too old to work, women, and those who are unemployed. In order to qualify for an Antyodaya ration card, the person’s income has to be less than 250 rupees per month. In order to obtain this card, you have to submit two passport type photographs, and paperwork which has been approved by a designated local official. People in possession of this type of card qualify to buy 35kg of rice at a set price of 3 rupees per kilo. Antyodaya ration cards are often coloured green.

BPL and APL Cards

These type of cards are issued to people who live either below the poverty line (BPL) or above it. The exact amount of household income which defines where the poverty line lies will vary by year. The process for applying for these ration cards is the same as for the Antyodaya card and will require the completion of forms, and submitting two passport photographs.

Colourwise Ration Card

There are other types of colour coded ration cards which are issued by state governments to various qualifying groups. A blue ration card is often allocated to people living above the state poverty line to enable them to access subsidised kerosene supplies from approved suppliers, if they do not have a natural gas or LPG fuel supply. Families who are more affluent may still be entitled to ration cards, but buy at less preferential rates than those further down the income scale. Find out what the situation and entitlements are in your home state by navigating to the state government’s website, and searching under Public Distribution System.

Ration Cards as Identification

As well as entitling the holder to access food supplies at subsidised rates, the ration card is an accepted form of official identification all over India. This is because it is a government issued card, with which shows the bearer’s photograph too. Ration cards can be used as identification when applying for your PAN card, essential for moving money around between bank accounts and paying the correct levels of income tax. In fact, as ration cards are so widely used throughout India, they aer one of the most commonly submitted forms of identification when applying for PAN, passports and more.