In the Indian population, many individuals belong to the below poverty line (BPL) category and are not financially stable. Moreover, increasing inflation and market prices of commodities make it challenging for people to purchase their basic needs.
A Ration card essentially is provided by the government to help these individuals purchase items of need ( grains, oil, rice, kerosene, etc.) at low or subsidised prices. It also acts as another identity proof, and it is generally used for various applications as address proof.
Ration cards are usually recognised by their colour. It can be white, blue, red, green or yellow. If you are above the poverty line, you can apply for a white one. The white indicates that you are a citizen of India and you are above the poverty line. On the other hand, you get blue/green/red/yellow cards if you are below the poverty line, and you can purchase food items at subsidised prices will these cards.
Not everybody is eligible to get a ration card and avail of subsidised rates. These are the following points you should keep in consideration before you apply for a ration card.
- The very basic criteria - you should be a citizen of India.
- Before your application, make sure nobody has filed an application for a ration card on your behalf.
- If your family members have already applied for a ration card, you would not be eligible.
Documents Required for Ration Card Application
Multiple documents are required when you file for an application to get a ration card. All necessary documents needed for ration card application are mentioned below:
- Each state has its application form. This state-specific application form must be filled and signed.
- Proof of Identity ( voter ID, Aadhar, driving license, passport, or any other government ID card)
- Proof of residence ( bank statement, telephone or electricity bill, LPG gas bill, or rental agreement)
- Proof of annual income of the individual (Payslips, Form 16, etc.)
- Photographs ( Head of the family)
- Any surrendered or cancelled ration card (if applicable)
How to Apply? - The process
With almost every aspect of life going digital, you can digitally apply for a ration card online along with the original offline application process. So let's look into both the processes, and you can choose whichever suits you better.
1. Offline Application Process
- In which state you reside in, you can visit the Food, Civil Supplies, and Consumer Affairs department office with all the necessary documents required for ration card application. Once you visit the office, the concerned team will help you fill in the application form. After that, you will be required to submit the application form and all the necessary documents for the ration card. The processing will start once all the documents are verified.
- To be prepared with all the necessary documents required for the ration card and know about the step-by-step procedure and process, you can find a customer care number, which is usually a toll-free number on the concerned state government web page. You can follow the instructions accordingly.
- Sending an SMS is another option through which you can get all information required to apply for a ration card offline. There's a specific format in which you need to send an SMS to the Food, Civil Supplies, and Consumer Affairs department of the particular state you reside in. You will receive a reply to the SMS sent with all the details regarding a new ration card application process.
2. Online Application Process
- The online process is the simpler one of the two methods. To apply online, all you have to do is visit the Food, Civil Supplies, and Consumer Affairs department website, provide all the necessary documents for the ration card application, and fill in and submit the application form digitally.
- Post submitting all the required documents, a representative from the concerned department will get in touch with you and help/assist you with the entire process from end to end. Once the representative verifies the documents, the ration card will be processed and sent to your address (whichever was communicated) directly.
- Apart from this direct process, many third-party firms assist you with this process. They help you fill in the application form and help you in uploading all the necessary documents. Post which, you can visit the website to check your status and expect to get the ration card delivered to your communicated address.
Post application - Check your application status
Once you submit your application form and all the necessary documents, your ration card application will get processed. The ration card will get either delivered to your address or collected in the respective office in your state. In the meanwhile, you can check the status of your application. Here's how
- You can check your application status on the Food, Civil Supplies, and Consumer Affairs department website.
- Visit the website, and you can see the "E-services" tab on the website. Once you click on the e-services tab, you should see an option to check your ration card application status.
- Once you click on that option, two things can happen; the website can show a list of recent ration card names and status alongside the names. There's a probability of finding your name on the list, or it might ask you to log in with your credentials and display the application status of your ration card there.
What happens once your application is approved?
Once your application is approved, you can go ahead and download the ration card from the website and get it printed for any further use. All you have to do is log in to the website using your credentials and check the status. If the status says, "Approved," you will automatically find the option to download or print the ration card. The printed/downloaded version will have all the necessary details required. You can now start using the ration card to purchase various items at subsidised rates.
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Q. What are e-ration cards?
Ans. Some state governments in India have introduced the concept of E-ration cards through the Electronic Public Distribution System (EPDS). It is an advanced distribution system that helps locate the details of goods and their availability online through the Electronic Public Distribution System platform.
Q. Can you transfer your ration card?
Ans. If you shift cities (or states), your ration card has to be transferred. First, the individual must submit a written application form and the necessary proofs and fees to get the new ration card processed. Then, all you have to do is complete the formalities required in the nearest ration office in the new city.
Q. How many days does the authority take to inspect the application?
Ans. From the day you submit your ration card application and all the necessary documents required, either online or offline, to assign an officer to inspect and for the inspection, it generally takes around 30 days for inspection to get completed. Then, post confirmation from the officer, the ration card is created and issued based on the applicant's annual income.
Q. What happens when the application is rejected?
Ans. Your application can get rejected for various reasons. For example, it could be for false or misleading information, missing documents, or any other missing requirement. If an application gets rejected, a letter is sent to the applicant with the reasons listed in the letter. If the rejection is due to present misleading or false information, the applicant will be liable for applicable punishment (criminal prosecution) as per the law.