In a socialist country like India, the main function of the government is to provide all its citizens with all the facilities that are necessary for their livelihood.
The term ration card has been defined in the National Food Security Act, 2013[i]. Under that Act, ration card is defined as a document issued under the order or authority of the state government for the purchase of the essential commodities from the fair price shops under the targeted public distribution system.[ii]
Uses of ration card:
- Ration cards provide the proof of identity card and residence of citizens. It is used as an important proof in applying other such documents like birth certificate, Voter ID and domicile certificate.
- Rations cards are mainly issued by the state governments for distributing essential commodities such as rice, wheat, sugar and kerosene oil.
Details in ration card:
In general, the ration card or the smart card ( of Tamil Nadu) contains the following details:
- Name of the family head
- Father’s / Husband’s name of the family head
- Date of birth
- Address where the family head and other members residing
- Photo of the family head
- Names of the other family members
- A QR code for scanning
- Unique smart card number
Kinds of ration card:
- Blue/ yellow/ green / red ration cards: These colour ration cards are given for the people who are living below the poverty line and depending on the type of the colour commodities are provided to the holder.
- White ration card: These ration cards are issued to people living above the poverty line and these cards can be used for identification.
Process of applying for ration cards:
The procedure for applying varies from state to state. Each and every states may have their own system. However certain basic elements are same.
During initial stages, the applicants had to fill out the application form from the concerned office and submit all the other essential documents along with small fee. This process turned out to be tedious and cumbersome.
But in recent days, the process got lot easier when the state governments decided to upload application forms in the official state government websites. The filled out applications had to be submitted with the office handling the issue.
Few states have advanced in this matter where they introduced the digital ration card wherein the applicant has to upload all the essential documents in their official website and they will be notified on their application status and when all the verification process are complete then the ration cards are issued to the applicant’s house through postal services.
Each and every state has their own official website in which the process of applying ration/ smart cards are clearly mentioned.[iii]
Process of changing details in ration card:
- In case where the person is dead, then the name of the person can be removed from the ration card by filing an application and submitting the death certificate of the concerned.
- When any new family member is added to the family then the written application by the head of the family with the full address, name and the previous address of the new member of the family. For such new member, certificate of deletion of their name from the previous ration card must be obtained.
- When the new member is a new born baby, then the birth certificate need to be produced.
Ration cards- A Boon for the poor:
The public distribution system in India is governed by The National Food Security Act, 2013. The act was introduced in order to provide all the citizens with basic food for their active and healthy life and it is characterized by availability, access, stability and utilization of food. The act entitles up to 75% of the rural population and 25% of the urban population to receive subsidized food grains under targeted public distribution system.
Under Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY), the poorest of the poor are benefitted as they are entitled to 35 kgs of food grains per family per month, priority households are entitled to 5 kgs per person per month. Food grains are made available at the subsidiary rate of Rs.3/2/1 per kg for rice, wheat and coarse grains respectively. The state government has the responsibility to evolve criteria for identification of the priority households and their actual identification. Section 10 of the Act provides that the state government shall identify the households under the AAY as per the guidelines applicable to such state government.[iv]
Change of address:
Within the jurisdiction of the same Fair Price Shop:
The head of the family may create a written application stating the reason for the change of the address and the new address along with any document as a proof for such new house.
The original ration card must also be produced.
After submitting the entire essential document along with the written application, an acknowledgment slip will be given with the time limit and the applicant can come and collect the ration card on the stipulated time.
Outside the jurisdiction of the fair price shop:
When the essential documents are submitted, then a deletion slip will be given to the applicant who has to go the fair price shop concerned and get the card deleted from the A- registrar and get a deletion slip signed by the salesman.
Hand over the deletion slip and the ration card to the AS/TSO office and get a acknowledgment slip along with the time limit
The changes are carried out and the surrender certificate is issued along with it.
Applicant can come and collect the updated ration card along with the surrender certificate if he is moving to another taluk and where the applicant is moving to another state then the ration card is retained by the AC/TSO office for destruction.[v]
The advent of technology and it’s efficient mode of usage by the government has made it easier for the public to make any changes in the documents. Incorporation of technology by the state governments is a great initiative and had made government functions more reliable.
Edited by Pragash Boopal
Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje
[i] Act No. 20 of 2013.
[ii] Section 2 (16) of the National Food Security Act, 2013.