The Antyodaya Anna Yojana, a nationwide initiative launched by the Indian government, strives to provide highly subsidized food grains to the country’s most impoverished families. Operating in all states and union territories, with the exception of Manipur and Nagaland, this program allocates 35 kilograms of food grains each month to Below Poverty Line (BPL) families. Introduced alongside this initiative is the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS), identifying priority households and supplying them with subsidized food grains through fair price shops.
Collaborative Implementation and Oversight:
In a concerted effort, the Food Corporation of India (FCI), state governments, and union territory administrations come together to implement this scheme. To ensure effective grievance resolution, District Grievance Redressal Officers (DGROs) are appointed at the district level.
A Glimpse into the Origin:
The origins of the Antyodaya Anna Yojana can be traced back to the formation of the Targeted Public Distribution System in 1997, rekindling the focus on poverty alleviation. The program was first set in motion in Rajasthan, India, on December 25, 2000, during the tenure of the NDA government.
Affordable Food Access for Low-Income Families:
Through the Antyodaya Anna Yojana, economically disadvantaged families gain access to highly subsidized food items. Eligible beneficiaries are identified through surveys conducted in rural development facilities across India, enabling them to procure rice at approximately ₹3 per kilogram, wheat at ₹2 per kilogram, and other coarse grains at ₹1 per kilogram.
Expanding the Safety Net:
Initially providing 25 kilograms of food grains per family, this allocation later increased to 35 kilograms. In 2003-2004, the Indian government further extended the program to encompass an additional 50 lakh BPL families, effectively covering about 23% of the entire BPL population.
A Pledge to Eradicate Hunger:
The Antyodaya Anna Yojana represents a significant commitment by the Indian government to combat hunger and guarantee food security for the nation’s citizens. This initiative primarily targets those who are most underprivileged, extending support to them in the form of essential food items and commodities at subsidized rates.
Providing a Lifeline for Vulnerable Families:
Antyodaya Anna Yojana identified one crore of the poorest BPL families in each state, extending to them heavily subsidized food grains at rates of Rs. 2 per kilogram for wheat and Rs. 3 per kilogram for rice. States and union territories shoulder distribution and transportation costs, ensuring that the full benefit of food subsidy reaches the consumers.
Continued Expansion for Wider Reach:
Over time, the program expanded to include 2.50 million of the most impoverished families. In 2003-04, it was further extended to encompass an additional 50 lakh BPL households, particularly those headed by widows, terminally ill individuals, disabled persons, or individuals aged 60 and above with no other means of subsistence or societal support. With this expansion, the Antyodaya Anna Yojana now covers 1.5 crore families, equivalent to 23% of all BPL families.
|Scheme Name||Antyodaya Anna Yojana|
|Launched by||Government of India|
|Beneficiary||Citizens of the country|
|Department||Department of Food and Public Distribution|
|Benefit||Eliminating Hunger and Enhancing Food Security|
Objectives of Antyodaya Anna Yojana:
The Antyodaya Anna Yojana aims to bolster the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) for the betterment of Indian citizens. Its primary objectives encompass:
- Enhancing Food Security: The scheme seeks to advance food security for the Below Poverty Line (BPL) population in India, ensuring they have access to essential food grains.
- Alleviating Hunger: Antyodaya Anna Yojana strives to create a hunger-free environment, particularly in the most impoverished regions of the country.
- Strengthening TPDS: It aims to popularize and strengthen the Targeted Public Distribution System, making it more effective and accessible.
- Subsidized Food Prices: The scheme provides basic food grains at subsidized prices, relieving the financial burden on low-income families.
- Coverage of Distribution Costs: It ensures that the costs related to the distribution and transportation of food grains are covered by government funds.
Features of Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY):
The scheme is characterized by several notable features:
- Identification of Poorest Families: The AAY scheme was designed to identify one crore of the poorest families from the Below Poverty Line (BPL) families under the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) in each state.
- Subsidized Grain Prices: It provides food grains at highly subsidized rates, such as Rs. 2 per kilogram for wheat and Rs. 3 per kilogram for rice.
- State Responsibility for Costs: States and Union Territories are responsible for covering the costs associated with distribution, transportation, dealer margins, and other expenses related to the scheme.
- Widened Coverage: Over time, the scheme has expanded to include 2.5 crore poor households, including those headed by terminally ill or widowed individuals, disabled persons, and those aged 60 and above with no means of subsistence. This increased the coverage of the AAY scheme to 23% of all BPL families.
Eligibility Criteria for Antyodaya Anna Yojana:
The Antyodaya Anna Yojana defines specific eligibility criteria to ensure that the food grains reach those in the most dire need.
Eligibility factors include:
- Professions: Eligible families can be engaged in various primary professions, encompassing both urban and rural areas. These professions include agricultural laborers without land, rural artisans, craftsmen, weavers, carpenters, potters, tanners, blacksmiths, marginal farmers, and daily wage earners like rag pickers, snake charmers, coolies, rickshaw pullers, hand-cart pullers, cobblers, among others.
- Age and Illness: Families with heads of household who are terminally ill, physically disabled, aged over 60 years, or widowed without social support are considered under this scheme.
- Specific Individuals: The AAY scheme extends to individuals who do not have a traditional family structure. For instance, those who are terminally ill, physically disabled, aged over 60 years, or widowed without societal support can benefit from this scheme.
- Region-Specific Families and Income Range: All tribal households are eligible for this scheme, provided they are part of the Below Poverty Line (BPL) population. Moreover, their family income should not exceed ₹1.8 lakhs per annum.
Benefits of Antyodaya Anna Yojana:
The scheme has far-reaching benefits for the impoverished population. Families eligible for the Antyodaya Anna Yojana can enjoy the following advantages:
- Access to Meals: Low-income families, including those without steady income, gain access to proper meals.
- Food Security: The scheme provides food security, especially for unemployed individuals, the elderly, and the physically disabled.
- Subsidized Food: Basic food grains are available at highly subsidized prices, making them affordable for eligible families.
- Generous Allocation: Each family under the AAY scheme is entitled to receive up to 35 kilograms of food grains every month, alleviating hunger and ensuring food security.
Significance of Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY):
The Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) holds great significance in addressing the welfare of India’s impoverished population. Several key aspects underscore its importance:
- Cost of Food Grains: AAY beneficiaries access food and essential commodities at highly subsidized rates through the public distribution system. They can purchase wheat at Rs.3 per kilogram, rice at Rs.2 per kilogram, and they receive a monthly allocation of 35 kilograms of rice. Additionally, they have the option to buy 1 kilogram of sugar at the rate of Rs.18.50 per kilogram from authorized ration shops.
- Ration Cards Specialization: The Central and State Governments identify AAY beneficiaries, and upon identification, they are issued specialized ration cards. The color and design of these cards may vary by state. For example, AAY families in Kerala receive yellow ration cards, while in Telangana, AAY beneficiaries use pink ration cards.
- Food Grains Allocation: Food grains under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana are allocated on a monthly basis, amounting to approximately 8.51 lakh tonnes per month. This allocation ensures a steady and substantial food supply to beneficiaries.
Documents Required for AAY:
To apply for this scheme, the following documents are typically required:
- BPL Certificate
- Income Certificate
- Deletion Certificate or an Affidavit stating that the beneficiary has not held any ration card in previous years.
How to Avail Antyodaya Anna Yojana:
Individuals can avail the benefits of the AAY scheme through both online and offline platforms:
- Visit the official portal https://nfsa.gov.in/of the Antyodaya Anna Yojana.
- Click on “Apply for a new ration card.”
- Choose your applicable state/union territory from the provided list.
- Fill in the required details in the “Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana 2021 application form.”
- Click “Submit” for the final submission of your application.
Beneficiaries residing in rural areas can apply for the Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) through an offline method. The following steps outline the process:
- Visit the Urban Development Department: Beneficiaries in rural areas should visit the Urban Development Department to apply for the AAY scheme.
- Research and Identification: State Government or Union Territory (UT) administrations will conduct thorough research and surveys to identify families living below the poverty line (BPL) and in need of support. This identification process aims to locate the most impoverished families.
- Information Dissemination: Once the BPL families have been identified, the information is distributed to the respective Panchayat (for rural areas) and Municipality (for urban areas). This dissemination ensures that the selected families are informed about their eligibility.
- Tentative List Preparation: The Office of Revenue prepares a tentative list of eligible families based on the research and identification process. This list is compiled with care to include only those families that meet the criteria for AAY.
- Gram Sabha Meeting: In rural areas, a Gram Sabha meeting is held to inform the identified families about their approval for the AAY scheme. During this meeting, beneficiaries are notified of their eligibility and the benefits they will receive under the program.
- Issuance of AAY Card: Once the beneficiaries are officially identified and notified, designated authorities issue them an AAY card. This card is a crucial document that allows eligible families to access and avail of their entitled ration and benefits through the scheme.
The process in urban areas is somewhat similar, with Chief Executives of urban local bodies playing a key role in identifying and issuing AAY cards to eligible beneficiaries. The AAY card serves as proof of eligibility for the program, ensuring that those in need receive the benefits and support they required.
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Antyodaya Anna Yojana- FAQs
1.What is the Antyodaya Anna Yojana and who does it aim to assist?
The Antyodaya Anna Yojana is a government initiative in India designed to provide highly subsidized food grains to the most economically disadvantaged families. Its primary objective is to help the poorest of the poor by offering essential food items at very low prices.
2.How do families qualify for the Antyodaya Anna Yojana benefits?
Eligibility for the scheme includes factors like having no reliable means of subsistence, being widowed, terminally ill, disabled, or aged 60 and above with no societal support. Landless agricultural laborers, artisans, and those with an annual income less than Rs. 15,000 are also eligible.
3.What kind of food grains are offered under this scheme and at what prices?
The Antyodaya Anna Yojana provides wheat at Rs. 2 per kilogram and rice at Rs. 3 per kilogram. Eligible families receive 35 kilograms of rice every month. Additionally, they can purchase 1 kilogram of sugar at Rs. 18.50 per kilogram from ration shops.
4.How can individuals apply for the Antyodaya Anna Yojana online?
To apply online, individuals can visit the official portal of the scheme and follow the application process, selecting their respective state or union territory and filling out the application form. The online method streamlines the application process for potential beneficiaries.
5.What is the significance of the Antyodaya Anna Yojana in addressing hunger and food security in India?
The Antyodaya Anna Yojana is a critical program aimed at eliminating hunger and enhancing food security among the nation’s most vulnerable population. By offering highly subsidized food grains, it ensures that even those with limited means can access essential food items.