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National Food Security Act, 2013

  • Government of India enacted National Food Security Act (NFSA) in July, 2013 which gives legal entitlement to 67% of the population (75% in rural areas and 50% in urban areas) to receive highly subsidized food grains.
  • Objective: To provide for food and nutritional security in the human life cycle approach, by ensuring access to adequate quantities of quality food at affordable prices to people to live a life with dignity.
  • Coverage and entitlement under Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) : Up to 75% of the rural population and 50% of the urban population will be covered under TPDS, with uniform entitlement of 5 kg per person per month.
  • Subsidised prices under TPDS and their revision : Food grains under TPDS will be made available at subsidised prices of Rs. 3/2/1 per kg for rice, wheat and coarse grains.
  •  Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) households constitute poorest of the poor, and are presently entitled to 35 kg per household per month.
  • State-wise coverage : Corresponding to the all India coverage of 75% and 50% in the rural and urban areas, State-wise coverage will be determined by the Central Government.
  • Identification of Households : Within the coverage under TPDS determined for each State, the work of identification of eligible households is to be done by States/UTs.
  • Nutritional Support to women and children :
    • 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.
    • Higher nutritional norms have been prescribed for malnourished children upto 6 years of age.
  • Maternity Benefit : Pregnant women and lactating mothers will also be entitled to receive maternity benefit of not less than Rs. 6,000.
  • Pregnant women and lactating mothers are entitled to a nutritious “take home ration” of 600 Calories.
  • Women Empowerment : Eldest woman of the household of age 18 years or above to be the head of the household for the purpose of issuing of ration cards.
  • Grievance Redressal Mechanism : Grievance redressal mechanism at the District and State levels. States will have the flexibility to use the existing machinery or set up separate mechanism.
  • Transparency and Accountability : Provisions have been made for disclosure of records relating to PDS, social audits and setting up of Vigilance Committees in order to ensure transparency and accountability.
  • Food Security Allowance : Provision for food security allowance to entitled beneficiaries in case of non-supply of entitled foodgrains or meals.
  • Penalty : Provision for penalty on public servant or authority, to be imposed by the State Food Commission, in case of failure to comply with the relief recommended by the District Grievance Redressal Officer.
  • The Department of Food and Public Distribution under Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution has sent letters to States Governments/UTs to include all eligible disabled persons under the National Food Security Act 2013.
  • Cost of intra-State transportation & handling of food grains and FPS Dealers’ margin : Central Government will provide assistance to States in meeting the expenditure incurred by them on transportation of food grains within the State, its handling and FPS dealers’ margin as per norms to be devised for this purpose.

Antyodaya Anna Yojana

  • AAY was a step in the direction of making TPDS aim at reducing hunger among the poorest segments of the BPL population.
  • In order to make TPDS more focused and targeted towards this category of population, the “Antyodaya Anna Yojana” (AAY) was launched in December, 2000 for one crore poorest of the poor families.
  • In order to identify these households, the guidelines stipulated the following criteria:-
  • a) Landless agriculture labourers, marginal farmers, rural artisans /craftsmen slum dwellers and persons earning their livelihood on daily basis in the informal sector , destitute and other similar categories in both rural and urban areas.
  • b) Households headed by widows or terminally ill persons/disabled persons/ persons aged 60 years or more with no assured means of subsistence or societal support.
  • c) Widows or terminally ill persons 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.
  • d) All primitive tribal households.

Value addition: Link topics

  • ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ system: Under PDS reforms, a scheme on “Integrated Management of Public Distribution System (IM-PDS)” is being implemented w.e.f. April 2018 in all States/UTs.
  • The main objective of the scheme is to introduce nation-wide portability of ration card holders under National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA), through ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ system.
  • The NFSA provides coverage for about 81 crore persons to receive subsidised food grains through TPDS, which is about 2/3’d of the country’s population as per census 2011
  • 100% digitized ration cards/beneficiaries’ data under NFSA in all States/UTs.
  • Nationally, achieved nearly 67% biometrically/Aadhaar authenticated distribution of monthly allocated food grains to States/UTs under NFSA.
  • Due to use of technology in TPDS operations since 2013, i.e. digitization of ration cards/beneficiary databases, Aadhaar seeding, de-duplication of databases, detection of ineligible, inactive/silent ration cards (may be due to death/migration of beneficiaries) and during the run-up to and implementation of NFSA, a total of about 4.39 Crore ration cards have been weeded out by States/UTs during the period 2013 to 2020 enabling the States/UTs to better utilise their respective coverage for achieving rightful targeting of eligible beneficiaries.
  • The NITI Aayog has suggested that the national rural and urban coverage ratio be reduced from the existing 75-50 to 60-40. if this reduction happens, the number of beneficiaries under the NFSA will drop to 71.62 crore (on the basis of the projected population in 2020).
  • If the rural-urban coverage ratio remains at 75-50, then the total number of people covered will increase from the existing 81.35 crore to 89.52 crore an increase of 8.17 crore.

Economic Survey

  • Observing that the food subsidy is becoming “unmanageably large”, the Economic Survey 2020-21 has recommended the revision of Central Issue Prices (CIP) of food grains released from the central pool, which have been unchanged for the last several years.
  • “The CIP of wheat and rice for NFSA beneficiaries has not been revised since the introduction of the Act in 2013 from Rs 200 per quintal in case of wheat and Rs 300 per quintal in case of rice. On the other hand, the economic cost of wheat for FCI (Food Corporation of India) operations has increased from Rs 1908.32 per quintal in 2013-14 to Rs 2683.84 per quintal in 2020-21.
  • Similarly, the economic cost of rice has increased from Rs 2615.51 per quintal in 2013-14 to Rs 3723.76 per quintal in 2020-21
  • Central Issue Price (CIP): The price at which food grains (wheat and rice) are issued to the State governments/ UTs from the central pool at uniform prices for distribution under Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS)/NFSA. CIP is fixed by Department of Food and Public Distribution, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.
  • Economic Cost: The cost incurred by the central government by way of procurement (at MSP), storage, transportation and distribution (to the nearest depot) The economic cost of food grains consists of three components, namely the MSP including central bonus (the price paid to farmers), procurement incidentals, and the cost of distribution. The economic cost has witnessed significant increase in the last few years proportionate to the increase in the MSPs—increase of 1 unit in MSP leads to a 0.48 unit increase in economic cost in case of wheat. The economic cost of wheat and rice in 2019-20 are estimated to be ₹35 and ₹25 per kilogram, receptively (which were ₹20 and ₹15 per kilogram, respectively in 2010-11).


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