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01 Nov

National Food Security Act, 2013: NITI Aayog

National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013

The National Food Security Act 2013 (also ‘Right to Food Act’) is an Indian Act of Parliament which aims to provide subsidized food grains to approximately two thirds of the country’s 1.2 billion people

  • Notified on: 10th September, 2013.
  • 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: 75% of the rural population and upto 50% of the urban population for receiving subsidized foodgrains under Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS).
    • Overall, NFSA caters to 67% of the total population.
  • Eligibility:
    • Priority Households to be covered under TPDS, according to guidelines by the State government.
    • Households covered under existing Antyodaya Anna Yojana.
  • Provisions:
    • 5 Kgs of foodgrains per person per month at Rs. 3/2/1 per Kg for rice/wheat/coarse grains.
    • The existing AAY household will continue to receive 35 Kgs of foodgrains per household per month.
    • Meal and maternity benefit of not less than Rs. 6,000 to pregnant women and lactating mothers during pregnancy and six months after the child birth.
    • Meals for children upto 14 years of age.
    • Food security allowance to beneficiaries in case of non-supply of entitled foodgrains or meals.
    • Setting up of grievance redressal mechanisms at the district and state level.

Key Points

  • Number of Beneficiaries at Present:
    • Approximately 2.37 crore households or 9.01 crore persons, as in February 2021 under Antyodaya Anna Yojana.
    • While approximately 70.35 crore persons are under the priority households.
  • Significance of the NITI Aayog’s Recommendations:
    • If the rural-urban coverage ratio remains the same (67% of all population), 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 (based on the projected 2020 population).
      • This will result in an additional subsidy requirement of Rs. 14,800 crore.
    • If the national coverage ratio is revised downward, the Centre can save up to Rs. 47,229 crore.
    • This amount of savings can be utilised by the Government in other important areas of concern such as health and education.
  • Challenges of the Move:
    • In the times of Covid-19 pandemic, it will be a double burden (Unemployment and Food insecurity issues) on the poor section of the society.
    • The move may be opposed by some of the states.
  • Other Recommendations:
    • HLC (High Level Committee) under Shanta Kumar had recommended reducing the coverage ratio from 67% of the population to 40%.
      • According to it, 67% coverage of the population is on the much higher side, and should be brought down to around 40%, which will comfortably cover BPL families and some even above that.
    • The Economic Survey- 2020-21 had recommended a revision of the Central Issue Prices (CIP) of foodgrains released from the central pool, which have remained unchanged for the past several years.

Central Issue Prices

  • Foodgrains under NFSA are made available to beneficiaries at subsidized prices.
  • The centre procures food grains from farmers at a Minimum support price (MSP) and sells it to states at central issue prices.
  • The prices are fixed by the Central Government from time to time, but not exceeding MSP.

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