The Union Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Minister K.V. Thomas on 7 August 2013 introduced National Food Security Bill 2013 in Lok Sabha. This was done to replace the National Food Security Ordinance, 2013 which was promulgated by the order of the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee on 5 July 2013.
The National Food Security Bill is an initiative for ensuring food and nutritional security to the people. It gives right to the people to receive adequate quantity of food grains at affordable prices.
The Bill has special focus on nutritional support to poorest of the poor, women and children. In case of non-supply of food grains, now people will get Food Security Allowance.
Highlights of the National Food Security Bill 2013
1. Coverage of two thirds population to get highly susidized foodgrains: Up to 75 percent of the rural population and 50 percent of the urban population will have uniform entitlement of 5 kg food grains per month at highly subsidized prices of Rs. 3, Rs. 2, Rs. 1 per kg for rice, wheat, coarse grains respectively.
2. Poorest of the poor continue to get 35 kg per household: The poorest of poor households would continue to receive 35 Kg food grains per household per month under Antyodaya Anna Yajna at subsidized prices of Rs 3, Rs 2 and Rs 1.
3. Eligible households to be identified by the States: Corresponding to the coverage of 75 percent rural and 50 percent of urban population at all India level, State wise coverage will be determined by the Planning Commission. The work of identification of eligible households is left to the States/UTs, which may frame their own criteria or use Social Economic and Caste Census data.
4. Special focus on nutritional support to women and children: There is a special focus on nutritional support to women and children. Pregnant women and lactating mothers, besides being entitled to nutritious meals as per the prescribed nutritional norms will also receive maternity benefit at least of 6000 rupees. Children in the age group of 6 months to 14 years will be entitled to take home ration or hot cooked food as per prescribed nutritional norms.
5. Food Security Allowance in case of non supply of foodgrains: The Central Government will provide funds to States/UTs in case of short supply of food grains from Central pool, In case of non-supply of food grains or meals to entitled persons, the concerned State/UT Governments will be required to provide such food security allowance as may be prescribed by the Central Government to the beneficiaries.
6. Grievance redressal mechanism at district level: There will be state and district level redressal mechanism with designated nodal officers. The States will be allowed to use the existing machinery for District Grievance Redressal Officer (DGRO), State Food Commission, if they so desire, to save expenditure on establishment of new redressal set up. Redressal mechanism may also include call centers, helpline etc.
7. Expenditure: At the proposed coverage of entitlement, total estimated annual foodgrains requirement is 612.3 lakh tons and corresponding estimated food subsidy for the Bill at 2013-14 costs is about 124724 crore rupees.
Who: K.V. Thomas
Where: Lok Sabha
When: 7 August 2013