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Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY)

Antyodaya Anna Yojana

The Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) was established in December 2000 with the aim of addressing hunger among the most impoverished segments of the Below Poverty Line (BPL) population. A key motivation behind the inception of AAY was to refine the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) to better serve those experiencing severe food insecurity. A National Sample Survey revealed that approximately 5% of the country’s population lacked access to two square meals a day, categorizing them as “hungry“.

AAY specifically targeted this segment of the population, identified as the “hungry,” in an effort to provide them with essential food support. A core objective of AAY was to ensure that the TPDS was more focused and effective in reaching the most vulnerable groups, thereby reducing hunger among the poorest households. AAY initially aimed to cover one crore (10 million) of the poorest families across the nation, prioritizing those facing the most acute food insecurity.

Features of the Antyodaya Anna Yojana

  • Initially, the AAY (Antyodaya Anna Yojana) scheme targeted identifying one crore poorest families among those classified as Below Poverty Line (BPL) and covered under the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) within the states.
  • These identified households were provided essential food grains at highly subsidized rates: Rs. 2 per kilogram for wheat, Rs. 3 per kilogram for rice, and Re. 1 for coarse grains.
  • All expenses related to the distribution, transportation, as well as the margins of dealers, were to be borne by the respective States/Union Territories (UTs).
  • Each chosen household was entitled to receive 35 kilograms of food grains per month through this scheme.
  • Subsequently, the number of poor households increased to 2.5 crores, encompassing not only those below the poverty line but also households headed by terminally ill individuals, widows, disabled persons, or those aged 60 years and above with no means of subsistence.

Eligibility Criteria

The scheme’s eligibility criteria encompass various demographic groups, including agricultural laborers without land, marginal farmers, rural artisans such as weavers, blacksmiths, carpenters, and potters, as well as slum dwellers and informal sector workers like cobblers, rag pickers, and rickshaw pullers. Additionally, households headed by terminally ill, disabled, or older people individuals, widows lacking means of support, and those with no family or societal assistance also qualify. States are responsible for identifying the most economically disadvantaged tribal households that meet specific criteria for targeted assistance through ration card distribution.


  • In 2003-04, the AAY Scheme saw an expansion, encompassing an additional 50 lakh BPL households. The order issued on June 3, 2003, expanded assistance to households headed by widows, terminally ill individuals, disabled persons, or individuals aged 60 years or older, who lacked assured means of subsistence or societal support. This extension led to coverage of 1.5 crore families, constituting 23% of the BPL category.
  • In the Union Budget of 2004-05, authorities announced another expansion of the AAY, this time including an additional 50 lakh BPL families, specifically targeting households at the risk of hunger. They issued the order for this expansion on August 3, 2004.

Read also: PMGKAY – Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Anna Yojana

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