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Revising National Food Security Act, 2013: NITI Aayog

  • 02 Mar 2021
  • 4 min read

Why in News

NITI Aayog, through a discussion paper, has recommended reducing the rural and urban coverage under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013, to 60% and 40%, respectively.

  • It has also proposed a revision of beneficiaries as per the latest population which is currently being done through Census- 2011.

National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013

  • 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.

Source: IE

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