The National Food Security Act (NFSA) also known as Right to Food Act was launched by the government of India in 2013. The objective of Parliament of India behind launching this act is to provide subsidised food grains to approximately 1.2 billion Indian people. The National Food Security Act came into existence on 5 July 2013. This act converts legal prerogative for existing food security programmes of the Government of India. It involves Integrated Child Development Services scheme, the Midday Meal Scheme and the Public Distribution System. The Integrated Child Development Services Scheme and Midday Meal Scheme are reached with many people whereas the PDS will reach about two-thirds of the Indian population.
Under the provisions of the bill, the Public Distribution System gives the right of distribution of cereals per person in every month at the following prices:
Rice at Rs. 3 / kg
Wheat at Rs. 2 /kg
Coarse grains at Rs. 1/ kg.
Lactating mothers, pregnant women, and certain categories of children are acceptable for daily free cereals.
Implementation of the National Food Security Act
This act has been highly moot. It was introduced on 22 December 2011, in the parliament of India and circulates as a presidential law on 5 July 2013, and came into existence on 12 September 2013. Odisha government accomplish this food security bill in fourteen districts from 17 November 2015 whereas Assam government implemented The National Food Security Act on 24 December 2015.
Reinforcement to States / UTs for non-building Benefits for State Food Commissions
The National Food Security Act, 2013 provides facilities that every State Government will notify the State Food Commission for the purpose of observing and review of the execution of the Act. It has been decided that in case a State government decides to organise State Food Commission on the exclusive basis, then Central Government will provide one-time financial support for non-building assets for State Food Commission. According to the component, “Assistance to States/UTs for non-building assets for State Food Commissions” has been included on the 12th Umbrella Scheme on “Strengthening of PDS & Capacity Building, Quality Control, and Consultancies & Research”of the Government department. Under this scheme, the collaboration is available for non-building belongings such as office equipment, furniture, computers , air-conditioners, photocopy Machine, Fax machines, telephones, tables, EPABX system, chairs, storage units etc. Under the programme, assistance is not provided for any development activity or any persist expenses.
Advantages of the National Food Security Bill
a. The national food security bill assurance seventy-five percent of rural population and fifty percent of urban households, the right to seven (7) kg food grains per person, at three rupees per kg for rice, two rupees per kg for wheat and one rupees per kg for coarse grains to the prime concern beneficiaries.
b. Every month at least three kg/ person food grains are provided to a general category at half of the minimum selling price.
c. Children under the age of fourteen years, including women and persons on the margins of society, will get rations or cooked meals under this bill.
d. The bill provides for cost-sharing to conciliate the states, which will execute the law. The states have also issued the command to decide on the criteria to select the beneficiaries.
e. A three-tier grievance redressal mechanism at Nation, state and district level is also part of the law.
f. Under the National Food Security bill, women above 18 years will be considered as the head of the beneficiary household for the purpose a problem of ration cards. There will be the social inspection of the functioning of ration shops.
g. The government of India spend about Rs. 94,973 crore /annum, for National Food Security whereas existing food subsidy bill estimated at Rs. 67,310 crores. The food grains required to be acquired to meet the commitment, under the bill is approximately sixty-five million tonnes, up from the average fifty to fifty-five million tonnes at present.
Currently Government of Indian spend Rs.63, 000 crore for food subsidy, which may increase to Rs.1.2 lakh crore if the bill is executed. Increased in fertiliser prices and the Minimum Support Price of the grains was another concernment.
Managing the finances for this bill would not be a big issue but attainment would have to be improved. It is evaluated that the requirement may go up from Fifty- Five million tonnes to Sixty-two million tonnes.
Special Benefit Are Designed for Women and Children under the National Food Security Act
Under the National Food Security Act approximately 2.25 crore pregnant women and lactating mothers receive one thousand per month for six months as maternity prosperity. In previous bill maternity benefits are only available in 52 districts but now it is extended across the country. All this is admirable but there is a need for vigilance since the economy is showing signs of carelessness.
The budget insufficiency should need to be watched. With the attainment of food grains required to rise from the current Fifty million tonnes to Sixty- Two million tonnes, the Union government would be up against a serious challenge especially in years of drought.
Considering the empower of women, under the National Food Security bill, ration card will be issued in the name of an eldest female member of the family. The proposed Bill also comes with great benefits for children. School going children I would be entitled to mid-day meals as per the prescribed nutritional norms.
In 2011-12, Government of India had provided Rs 55,586 crore for food subsidy. But in 2016 this budget is increased around Rs. 63,000 crores. The new legislation would require more food grains and a lot more money to execute.
Implementation of the National Food Security Bill
The drafted legislation explains the ways to execute the scheme and mentioned the fix penalties for flawed delivery. While the state government has to make a sure consecutive supply of food grain through the Public Distribution System (PDS). Quarterly meetings are held to a vigil on distribution meetings between shopkeepers and members of local bodies who will be engaged in the selection of the shop owner.
Within two years states have to completely computerise their PDS and they should provide a toll-free contact number and a website where people can register their complaints. All complaints will be solved within 39 days of receipt and records of the same will be made available in the public domain, including the Internet.
A commissioner will be designated in each state to examine the programme, investigate scarcities, and suggest changes in it, charge penalties to public servants for failures. One month gross salary up to five years for negligence, or police custody of six months to five years in a case of death could be deducted as penalties for failures.
Latest News Regarding the National Food Security Bill
Union Food and Civil Supply Minister Ram Vilas Paswan declared in Ahmedabad that “From April 1, 10 States, including Gujarat, are going to launch the food security programme and all preparations for the smooth launch have been made.”
Ram Vilas Paswan held an evaluation meeting with the government officials of the Gujarat and Food Corporation of India (FCI) on how the subsidised food programme was being launched in the State.
In the past two years, the states and the central government have worked for digitisation. They want to link ration cards with Aadhaar, to make PDS shops full computerised and supply chain network, which is necessary to implement the act nationally. Union Minister also said that in India there are 24.18 crore ration cards and out of which 99 percent have been digitised.