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Ration cards help the members of the economically underprivileged sections of the society with the procurement of essential products and commodities at heavily subsidised rates. Earlier there were four different types of ration cards issued by the state government on the basis of yearly income. These are as follows:

Ration Cards Under the NFSA Act of 2013


Two Ration Card types are issued in several Indian states that adhere to the rules and norms of the National Food Security Act of 2013. They are as follows:

  • Priority Household (PHH) Ration Cards: The PHH ration cards means that the holder can procure up to 5 kilograms of food grains every month per family member at subsidized prices. PHH ration card holders can secure rice at ₹3 per kilogram, wheat at ₹2 per kilogram and coarse grains at ₹1 per kilogram. These prices are set by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and are amended periodically. The people who can be holders of PHH ration cards are as follows:

  1. A transgender individual

  2. A person who is unable to use more than 40% of his/her body.

  3. Households belonging to tribal groups

  4. Households with no shelter

  5. Households that have a widowed pension holder

  6. Households living on alms.

  • Antyodaya (AAY) Ration Cards: The AAY Ration Card holders are entitled to up to 25 kilograms of food items per month at subsidized prices. The AAY Ration Card holders can procure up to 20 kilograms of rice and 15 kilograms of wheat at ₹3 and ₹2 respectively. The AAY ration cards are issued to the following people:

  1. People with no stable income

  2. Men and women above 65 years of age

  3. Laboure’s living on a daily wage, rickshaw drivers and coolies.


Ration Cards Issued under the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) Regime

The kinds of ration cards that are issued by several Indian states under the old TPDS regime are as follows:

  • Below Poverty Line (BPL) ration card: The BPL ration cards are issued to individuals that live below the state-defined poverty line. The same is subject to constant change.


  • Above Poverty Line (APL) Ration Cards: The APL ration cards are given to those individuals who live above the state-defined poverty line. The poverty line is redefined on a periodical basis.


  • The PHH Ration Card - Any household that is an owner of a PHH ration card will receive 5 kgs of food grains per person every month at a subsidised price. Such cardholders are charged ₹3 for a kg of rice, while they can procure wheat for as low as ₹2 and grains for ₹1. These prices are fixed by the Reserve Bank of India and are revised on a periodical basis.



Eligibility Criteria for PHH Ration Card

The eligibility criteria of the PHH ration card has been put in place by the government which has furnished inclusion and exclusion guidelines for the same. These are as follows:


Inclusion Criteria for PHH Ration Card


  • Any person that belongs to the transgender community.

  • A person with a disability that affects up to 40 per cent of his or her body.

  • All of those households are a part of primitive tribal groups.

  • Households that have no shelter.

  • Households that have a widow pension holder.

  • Households that are living on alms.

PHH Ration Card Exclusion Criteria


  • Any household that has a pucca roof with at least three rooms.

  • Households that pay income tax or professional tax.

  • Households that have a member who earns more than ₹10,000 on a monthly basis in a rural area and ₹15,000 in the case of an urban area.

  • Households that have a formally employed person - gazetted or non-gazetted of the Central or State Government.(If the employed individual is involved in Public Sector Undertakings or with Government-aided autonomous/local bodies, they cannot apply for such a ration card.)

  • Homes that are powered by a domestic electric connection that has a load of 2 Kilowatts or more or consume an average of 300 units of energy per month.

  • Households that have enterprises that are registered with the Government for manufacturing and services.

  • Any household that owns a motorised four-wheeler/heavy vehicle/trawler or two or more motorboats.

  • Households that own mechanised agricultural equipment like tractors and harvesters, among others.

Eligibility Criteria for AAY Ration Card

Households that are issued the AAY ration card are entitled to approximately 35 kgs of food grains. Rice and wheat are issued at the scale of 20 kgs and 15 kgs respectively. The rates that are charged for a kilogram of rice and wheat to an AAY ration cardholder is ₹3 and ₹2 respectively.


Inclusion Criteria for AAY Ration Card


  • They must not have a stable source of income.

  • They should not be above 65 years of age.

  • People employed as rickshaw pullers, daily labourers, etc

  • Households that are a part of primitive tribal groups.

  • Marginalised members of the farming brethren.

  • Agricultural labourers who are not landowners.

  • Disabled people, widows, terminally ill individuals and persons aged above 60 years or those households that are headed by such persons.

  • Single men or women with no family/societal support.


  • People earn their livelihood on a daily basis by working in informal sectors.


The various types of ration cards available in India should give you a fair idea of the strong Public Distribution System (PDS) we have in the country. Each type of ration card comes with its own benefits and eligibility criteria. To benefit from the PDS network in place, check which card you are eligible for and apply for the same.


You can even use your ration card as a proof of identity or address when you borrow funds from banks and NBFCs. If you are planning to check off the goal of owning a house, visit Bajaj Markets today to avail a home loan at competitive interest rates.


FAQs on Types of Ration Card

  • ✔️What kind of ration card is issued in India?

    A total of 5 types of ration cards are issued by the state governments of India. These are-

    1. Above Poverty Line (APL) Ration Cards

    2. Below Poverty Line (BPL) Ration Cards

    3. Annapoorna Yojana (AY) Ration Cards

    4. Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) Ration Card, and

    5. Priority Household (PHH) Ration Card

    Note: Some states issue the first three types of ration cards under the National Food Security Act of 2013. Other states issue the last two types through their respective Targeted Public Distribution Systems (TPDS).

  • ✔️Who is eligible for a PHH card?

    Economically underserved households who are living on charities and/or do not have a shelter are eligible for PHH ration cards. The likes of primitive tribal group members and widowed women living on pension are eligible for a PHH card too. Additionally, people with disabled bodies and members of the transgender community can apply for a PHH ration card as well.

  • ✔️What is the National Food and Security Act (NFSA)?

    The National Food Security Act was put into effect in 2013 with the intention of making food items available at subsidised rates to two-thirds of the Indian population. The act was enforced on 12th September 2013. Under the act, two types of ration cards were issued- Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) ration card and the Priority Household (PHH) ration cards.