Ration stamp
A ration stamp or ration card is a stamp or card issued by a government to allow the holder to obtain food or other commodities that are in short supply during wartime
The term wartime could refer to:* Wartime, Saskatchewan, a small community in Saskatchewan, Canada.* Wartime Station, Saskatchewan, a small community in Saskatchewan, Canada.* A formal state of war, as opposed to peacetime...

 or in other emergency situations. Food stamps used, for instance, in the United States to provide subsidised food to those on low incomes are not ration stamps as the stamps provide a subsidy only and the items purchased are not in short supply.

World War II

Ration stamps were widely used by both sides during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 after hostilities caused interruption to the normal supply of goods. They were also used after the end of the War while the economies of the belligerents gradually returned to normal.


Ration cards have been an important part of the Public Distribution System
Public Distribution System
Public Distribution System is an Indian food security system. Established by the Government of India under Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution and managed jointly with state governments in India, it distributes subsidised food and non-food items to India's poor...

 (PDS) in India. On the basis of their economic condition, people can buy goods like food grains, sugar and kerosene with the help of their ration cards.

They are three types of ration card:
  • Antyodaya ration cards, issued to the poorest of the poor.
  • Below Poverty Line
    Below Poverty Line
    Below Poverty Line is an economic benchmark and poverty threshold used by the government of India to indicate economic disadvantage and to identify individuals and households in need of government assistance and aid. It is determined using various parameters which vary from state to state and...

     (BPL) cards.
  • Above Poverty Line (APL) cards.

United Kingdom

Rationing in the United Kingdom was widespread during World War II and continued long after the end of the war. It has been credited with greatly increasing public health.
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