National Food Security Act 2013
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.
- Section 38 of the Act mandates that the Central Government may from time to time give directions to the State Governments for effective implementation if the provisions of the Act.
- The Department advised all States/UTs to ensure that all disabled persons, who are eligible as per identification criteria of beneficiaries under NFSA, are covered under the National Food Security Act 2013 and they get their entitled quota of food grains under NFSA & PMGKAY as per provisions of the Act.
- It is stated that those not already covered should be covered with fresh ration cards to be issued as per the eligibility criteria. It is also reiterated that disability is one of the criteria for inclusion of beneficiaries under AAY households and as disabled persons are vulnerable section of the society.
- The letter further advised that it is imperative that they are also covered by States/UTs under the priority households as per the criteria of identification evolved by them.
- The Section 10 of the National Food Security Act, 2013 provides for coverage of persons under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana in accordance with the guidelines applicable to the said scheme and the remaining households as priority households in accordance with such guidelines as the States Government may specify.
Atma Nirbar Bharat
- The Atma Nirbhar Bharat Package of the Government of India is for the persons, who are not covered either under NFSA or any States Scheme PDS Cards.
- Hence, the disabled persons without ration cards are also eligible for getting benefits under Atma Nirbhar Bharat package.
- Since this scheme would lapse on August 31,2020 and there is still one week left for this, the Department requested to all States/UTs, that they may identify such disabled persons who do not have ration cards and provide them benefits under Atma Nirbhar Bharat Package.
- The letter also mentioned that the scheme started in May 2020 and it was presumed that all eligible beneficiaries without ration cards including the disabled should have been covered.
- It is understood that the ration lifted so far has been utilized by the States for distributing to eligible beneficiaries without ration cards including the disabled. States are requested to undertake proactive steps in this regard.
The basic concept of food security globally is to ensure that all people, at all times, should get access to the basic food for their active and healthy life and is characterized by availability, access, utilization and stability of food.
- Though the Indian Constitution does not have any explicit provision regarding right to food, the fundamental right to life enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution may be interpreted to include right to live with human dignity, which may include the right to food and other basic necessities.
- Though the issue of food security at the household level was being addressed by the Government from long through the Public Distribution System and the Targeted Public Distribution System, the enactment of the National Food Security Act, (NFSA) in 2013 marks a paradigm shift in the approach to food security from welfare to a rights based approach.
- 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 foodgrains.
Entitlements under NFSA
- Highly subsidized food grains under PDS
- Nutritious meal, free of charge to pregnant women & lactating mothers and children up to 6 years of age under ICDS.
- Nutritious meal, free of charge to children in the 6-14 years of age group under MDM.
- Maternity benefits of Rs. 6000 to Pregnant Women & Lactating Mothers
- PDS now governed by provisions of NFSA
- Coverage under PDS: 75% Rural and 50% Urban population; State-wise coverage determined by the Planning Commission (now NITI Ayog) on the basis of 2011-12 Household Consumption Expenditure survey of NSSO.
- Coverage of two-thirds of the total population at the all India level, under two categories of beneficiaries – Antodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) households and Priority Households (PHH).
- Foodgrains Entitlement: 5 kg per person for PHH category and 35 kg per household for AAY households.
- Prices: Rs. 3/2/1 per kg for rice, wheat and coarse grain.
- No reduction in foodgrains allocation to any State/UT under NFSA – Tide Over allocation.
- Identification of Households: to be done by States/UTs, which are required to frame their own criteria
- Women Empowerment: Eldest woman (18 years or above) to be the head of the household for the purpose of issuing of ration cards.
- Grievance Redressal Mechanism: To be set up at the District and State levels.
- Transparency: Provisions for disclosure of records relating to PDS, placing beneficiaries list in public domain
- Assistance to States/UTs for meeting expenditure on intra-State transportation & handling of foodgrains and FPS Dealers’ margin