Union Government of India extended the implementation of National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013 to the States of Karnataka and Chhattisgarh on 18 January 2014. With this the implementation of National Food Security Act has taken off now in seven States/ Union Territories. These are Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Punjab, Karnataka and Chhattisgarh. Uttrakhand and Chandigarh are also expected to join NFSA soon.
Accordingly, the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution allocated foodgrains to these seven States/UTs. The allocation of foodgrains was made as per requirements projected by these States/UTs to implement the Act.
National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013
The Union Government of India notified the National Food Security Act, 2013 on 10 September 2013 to further strengthen the efforts to address the food security of the people. The Act provides for coverage of up to 75% of the rural population and up to 50% of the urban population for receiving subsidized foodgrains under Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS), thus covering about two-thirds of the population.
Main provisions of the NFSA, 2013
• Identified beneficiaries by the State governments will get rice, wheat and coarse grains at the subsidized prices of 3 Rupee, 2 Rupee and 1 Rupee respectively.
• Each beneficiary will get 5 kg of foodgrain per month.
• Pregnant women and lactating mothers and children in the age group of 6 months to 14 years will be entitled to meals as per prescribed nutritional norms under Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and Mid-Day Meal (MDM) schemes.
• It provides for higher nutritional norms for malnourished children up to 6 years of age.
• Pregnant women and lactating mothers will be entitled to receive maternity benefit of not less than Rs. 6,000.
• For the purpose of issuing the ration cards, the Act identifies eldest woman of the household of age 18 years or above as the head of the household. This will go a long way in empowering woman.
• Households covered under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) will continue to get 35 kg of foodgrain per month as they constitute poorest of the poor.
• Existing allocation of each state will be protected if the allocation under the proposed legislation is lower than its current allocation. It will be protected up to the level of average off-take during last three years, at prices to be determined by the Central Government.
Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY)
AAY was launched on 25 December 2000 to make TPDS more focused and targeted towards the poorest of the poor category of the population.
It provides the identified persons under Below the Poverty Line (BPL) population foodgrains at a highly subsidized rate of 2 Rupee per kg for wheat and 3 Rupee per kg for rice.
The scale of issue that was initially 25 kg per family per month has been increased to 35 kg per family per month with effect from 1 April 2002.
Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS)
TPDS was launched in June 1997 with focus on the poor.
Under the TPDS, States are required to formulate and implement foolproof arrangements for identification of the poor for delivery of food grains and for its distribution in a transparent and accountable manner at the Fair Price Shop level.
The identification of the poor under the scheme is done by the States as per State-wise poverty estimates of the Planning Commission for 1993-94. The poverty estimates were based on the methodology of the Expert Group on estimation of proportion and number of poor chaired by Late Prof Lakdawala.
The allocation of food grains to the States/UTs was made on the basis of average consumption in the past, that is, average annual off-take of food grains under the PDS during the past ten years at the time of introduction of TPDS.
The foodgrain allocation to BPL families was increased from 10 kg to 20 kg of food grains per family per month at 50% of the economic cost and allocation to APL families at economic cost with effect from 1 April 2000.