A National Sample Survey Exercise pointed out that about 5% of the total population in India sleeps without two square meals a day. The Public Distribution System (PDS) later revamped to the Targeted Public Distribution System (TDPS) aimed at providing food and grains to the needy. To make the TPDS more beneficial and more focussed towards the right category of population, the Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) was launched in December 2000. AAY is the Government scheme that was launched to provide highly subsidised food to one crore poorest of the poor families in India.
Features of the Antyodaya Anna Yojana
- AAY had to first identify one crore poorest of the poor families from amongst the Below Poverty Line (BPL) families covered under the TPDS within the states.
- Provide them grains at a highly subsidised rate of Rs. 2 per kg for wheat and Rs. 3 per kg for rice and Re. 1 for coarse grains.
- All costs related to distribution, transportation, and also margins of dealers had to be borne by States/UTs.
- The chosen households are entitled to 35kg of food grains per month.
- The number of poor households has since increased to 2.5 crores and also includes households headed by terminally ill or widows or disabled persons or persons aged 60 years and above and no means of subsistence.
Eligibility Criteria for Antyodaya Anna Yojana
To identify the households that are eligible for the benefits of the scheme, the guidelines stipulated the following criteria:
- Agriculture labourers without lands, marginal farmers, rural artisans or craftsmen, like weavers, blacksmiths, carpenters, potters, tanners, slum dwellers, and daily wage earners in the informal sector like cobblers, rag pickers, snake charmers, porters, coolies, rickshaw pullers, hand cart pullers, fruit and flower sellers, destitute and other similar types in both rural and urban areas.
- Households that are headed by terminally ill persons/disabled persons/ persons aged 60 years or more or widows with no assured means of subsistence or societal support.
- Persons who are terminally ill or widows or disabled persons or persons aged 60 years or more or single women or single men with no family or societal support or assured means of subsistence.
- All tribal households which are primitive.
The states identify the poorest of the poor households and ration cards are given to them to ensure the advantages of the scheme reach the right people.