National Food Security Act 2013
The National Food Security Act, 2013 which is popularly known as the Food Act, is the act of Parliament which aims to provide the people with the subsidized food grains. The target population for the Act is around 2/3rd of the Indian Population. The law was formed on September 12, 2013 while the retroactive on 5th July, 2013.
Aim of the National food Security Act 2013
The National Food Security Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha with the aim “To provide for food and nutritional security in human life cycle approach, by ensuring access to adequate quantity of quality food at affordable prices to people to live a life with dignity and for matter connected therewith or incidental thereto”, in December 2011.
Features of the National Food Security Act
• Under the Act, around 80 crore People will be benefitted.
• Beneficiaries are to be able to purchase 5 kilograms per eligible person per month of cereals
• The rates of rice at Rs.3 and coarse grains (millet) at Rs.1 while the wheat at Rs.2
• Pregnant women, lactating mothers, and some other categories of children are eligible for daily free meals.
• Around 75% of the rural Population and 50% of the people living in urban areas are entitled to three years to five kg food grains per month from the date of the enactment of law.
• Children from the age group of 6 months to 14 years of age are entitled to receive free hot meals.
• 600 Calories of food for the Pregnant Women and lactating mothers is being entitled.
• Maternity benefit of at least Rs 6,000 for six months is being included in the law.
• The Central Government will provide funds to states in case of short supplies of food grains
• The Public Distribution System is to be reformed
• Under this law, the state government will be bound to provide a food security allowance to the beneficiaries in case there is no supply of food grains.
• Through this Act, the eldest woman in the household, 18 years or above, is the head of the household for the issuance of the ration card
• State Food Commissions will be formed under this act which will be looking the implementation and will monitor the provisions of the Act.
• The poorest that are covered under the Antodaya Yojna will remain entitled to the 35 kg of grains allotted to them under the mentioned scheme.
• The National Food Security Act 2013 provides a two-tier grievance Redressal Structure which involves the District Grievance Redressal Officer or DGRO and State Food Commission. State governments are also required to put in place an internal grievance Redressal mechanism which can include call centers, help lines and many more.
• There are some Mandatory transparency provisions which include:
a. Placing all PDS-related records in the public domain.
b. Conducting the process of periodic social audits of the PDS and other welfare schemes.
c. Using the information and communication technology just to ensure transparent recording of transactions at all levels.
d. THE Process of Setting up vigilance committees at all levels in order to supervise all schemes under the National Food Security Act 2013.
• The Bill has four schedules and these can be amended by notification.
a. Schedule 1 prescribes the issue prices for the PDS.
b. Schedule 2 prescribes nutritional standards for midday meals, take-home rations and other such related entitlements.
c. While, Schedule 3 lists the various provisions for advancing food security.
d. At Last, Schedule 4 specifies a minimum amount of food grain to be allocated to each state. However, in the case of states that may lose otherwise under the Act, this in the compulsory condition means a continuing of existing allocations.
• Under this act, the main obligation of state governments is to implement the relevant schemes, in accordance with the Central Government guidelines.
• However, the State governments also have widespread powers to make Rules and are free to extend benefits and entitlements beyond which is prescribed in the Bill, from their own resources.
• The National food Security Act 2013 states that the Local Authorities and Panchayati Raj Institutions are responsible for proper implementation of the Bill in their respective areas, and may also be given additional responsibilities as notification.
With the implementation of the Food Security Bill, Indians can have a hope that their Struggle for Right to food will possibly come to an end in a positive note. With the introduction of this Bill, India can guarantee the majority of its population quality food grains to meet with the deficiencies and provide the deserved nutritional security to the whole population of the country.