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What is a Ration Card?

A Ration Card is a document which is issued and approved by state governments for its residents. One of the main functions of the ration card is that it allows Indian families that are a part of the economically underprivileged sections of the Indian society to purchase the goods which are necessary for human survival at subsidised rates. The kind of products that a Ration cardholder can purchase at discounted prices with the help of the document are such as food items, kerosene, grains, pulses and dairy products, amongst others.


Historically, Ration Cards have proven to be very helpful to the individuals who have had a difficult time purchasing the kind of products mentioned above at grocery store rates. Typically, people who fall under the below poverty line (BPL) have been observed to be the ones who make use of a Rashan Card frequently. In addition to the same, a Ration Card also performs the function of proof of identity and address. It is also one of the many documents that an individual can furnish at the time of applying for other forms of identification issued by the government.

What are the Types of Ration (Rashan) Cards

There are four types of ration cards recognized by the government of India. These categories are decided based on total household income.

  • White Ration Card: An individual who is above the poverty line as per the government’s definition is issued a white Ration Card. The colour white is indicative of the Indian socio-economic group that the holder belongs to.

  • Orange Ration Cards: Orange Ration Cards are issued to those people who are living just right below the poverty line. Orange Ration Cards allow the people of this particular socio-economic group to purchase food and grains at highly subsidised rates, which are revised by the state governments on a timely basis.

  • Yellow Ration Cards: People who earn a yearly income that is less than the remuneration received by an Orange Card Holder are issued Yellow Ration Cards. Yellow Ration Card holders typically belong to the most economically unfortunate groups. In addition to this, they are a top priority for the government in terms of the provision of food and groceries. People who hold a Yellow Ration Card tend to take up jobs which are unstable or seasonal in nature, which could also cause them to either be occasionally unemployed, homeless or both at the same time.

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What is the Eligibility Criteria for a Ration Card

If you wish to apply for a Ration Card online, you will have to ensure that you meet the basic eligibility criteria first which includes -

  • No one should have applied for a Ration Card on your behalf

  • You should be the first one from your family to apply for the ration card

  • You should be an Indian citizen

List of Documents Required for Ration Card

Now that you have ensured that you and your family meet the ration card eligibility criteria, you will have to arrange a few documents. Those documents concern your identity, residence and income. You can find a list of ration card documents below -


In order to apply for a Ration Card online/offline, you will need

  • A copy of the State Application form

  • A Proof of Identity (acceptable documents: Driving Licence, Election ID, Government ID Card, Passport)

  • Residence Proof (acceptable documents: Telephone Bill, Electricity, LPG Receipt, Bank Passbook, Rental Agreement)

  • A picture of the family head

  • A proof of the annual income of the applicant

  • Your cancelled/surrendered Ration Card, if you have one

How to Apply for a Ration (Rashan) Card Online or Offline?

There are various ways through which you can apply for a Ration Card. Either you can apply for a Ration Card online or you can carry out the process offline. What you will find below is a step-by-step list of the processes that you will have to follow if you want to apply for a Ration Card online or otherwise.

1. Steps to Apply for a Ration Card Online:

  • Step 1: You can first try visiting the official website of the Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs Department of the state of your residence.

  • Step 2: All you will need are the documents stated on the portal in question which you will have to submit after filling the online application form.

  • Step 3: After submitting it, a representative of the organisation will contact you in order to further assist you with the process.

  • Step 4: If all of the documents submitted by you are correct and verified, the Ration Card will be sent to the address that you have given.

  • Step 5: Alternatively, you can visit third-party websites who specialise in helping Ration Card applicants with the process.

  • Step 6: You can visit their website, submit the form downloaded by you and upload it with the required documents. Shortly after the same, you can then expect to receive the Ration Card soon.

2. Steps to Apply for a Ration Card Offline:

  • Step 1: You will have to follow a format for an SMS (As would be stated on the website of your local Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs Department) which you will have to send on one of the numbers stated on the same.

  • Step 2: You should then receive a message, instructing you to follow a particular process for the purpose of applying for a Ration Card.

  • Step 3: You can also reach out to them via a Toll-Free/Customer Care number stated on the state government’s website.

  • Step 4: Once you make the call, you will be filled in on the process that needs to be followed in order to apply for your Ration Card.

  • Step 5: You can also visit the officials of your local Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs Department in person along with all the necessary documents. You will have to follow the process specified by them so that you can successfully apply for a Ration Card.

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While a ration card is not a mandatory document in India, it can be beneficial to get your card if you are eligible. With the rapid digitization of public welfare systems in India, you can now apply for your ration card online in most Indian states. Remember to keep the paperwork ready, so the application process is smooth and hassle-free.


A ration card not only makes it easier to purchase provisions at subsidised rates, but also helps you with other official application procedures. Availing loans becomes easy too, since your ration card is a valid ID/address proof. If you wish to avail house loan at attractive rates of interest today, visit Bajaj Markets and check out your options.

FAQs on Ration Card

What is the ration card number?

A Ration Card number is a 10 digit unique numerical figure assigned to every Indian citizen who is the holder of it. It is issued by the respective state’s Department of Consumer Affairs, Food and Civil Supplies.

How can I get my ration card number?

You can quickly check your ration card details through the official portal of your state’s Department of Consumer Affairs, Food and Civil Supplies.

Is ration card mandatory in India?

Ration Cards are voluntary documents hence it is not compulsory for every citizen to obtain that but typically, people who are or reside below the poverty line apply for the ration card to secure the basic necessities of living at subsidised rates.

Can we have two ration cards for one house?

Yes. It is entirely possible for a household to have two family members with Ration Cards in their name.

Can NRIs have ration cards in India?

Yes. Non Resident Indians can possess Ration Cards.

Latest Ration Card News

Centre launches web-based registration facility for ration cards

11 Indian states and union territories can now access ration card registrations through digital means. The Central Government launched a web-based registration facility for every eligible beneficiary to apply for a ration card. The Food Secretary of India said that this facility aims to assist “states and UTs in expeditiously identifying the eligible beneficiaries” and to issue ration cards for all those eligible to help them “avail their legal entitlement under the NFSA”.


The ‘My Ration - My Right’ facility is currently accessible in 11 states and UTs and, estimatedly, should be accessible pan-India by the end of the month.

Aug 26,2022

Civil supplies department launches door-to-door verification of ration card holder

Following many incidents of foodgrains intended for ration shops being diverted, particularly in the West Kochi region, the Civil Supplies department has started a district-wide door-to-door inspection of the credentials of ration card users.


Civil supply officers anticipate the involvement of a circle that acquired PDS foodgrains from ration card members on a regular basis for a set price, accumulated them, and then channelled them to the open market.


Teams of taluk supply officers and rationing inspectors have been working together for the past two weeks, with instructions to deliver weekly reports every Friday.


The department recently sent out five squads to investigate ration stores in the West Kochi region, and abnormalities were discovered in 15 of the stores. Since the infraction did not merit the termination of the rationing licence, other suitable punitive measures were implemented.

Aug 19, 2022

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