Monday 16 December 2013

Food Security Act to Protect Current Foodgrains Allocation of the States

Some States have expressed apprehension about inadequate coverage of population and reduced allocation of foodgrains under NFSA as compared to their present allocation under the existing Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS).

 But allocation of foodgrains of such States/UTs will be protected to the extent of their average annual offtake under normal TPDS during last three years. 

This information was given by the Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Prof. K.V. Thomas in a written reply in Lok Sabha today. 

Minister further said that the NFSA provides for coverage of upto 75% of the rural and 50% of the urban population to receive subsidised foodgrains under TPDS at the all India level, corresponding to which State-wise coverage has been determined by the Planning Commission in a fair and transparent manner, on the basis of National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) data for 2011-12 on consumption expenditure. 

However, as the allocation of foodgrains based on the coverage so determined and entitlements prescribed in the Act is estimated to be less than the allocation under existing TPDS in case of some States/UTs, it has been provided in the Act that the annual allocation of foodgrains of such States/UTs will be protected to the extent of their average annual offtake under normal TPDS during last three years. The Minister listed salient features of the National Food Security Act are as follows 

• Seeks to address the issue of food security in a life cycle approach 

• Coverage of upto 75% and 50% of rural and urban population, respectively under Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS), with entitlement of 5 kg per person per month. 

• Entitlement of existing AAY households to be protected at 35 kg per household per month. 

• Subsidised prices – Rs. 3/2/1 per kg for rice, wheat and coarse grains for a period of three years from the date of commencement of the Act and to be suitably linked to MSP thereafter. 

• Protection of average annual offtake of foodgrains for last three years under normal TPDS in case annual allocation of foodgrains under the Act to any State is less 

• Corresponding to the all India coverage, State-wise coverage to be determined by Central Govt. 

• Number of persons to be covered to be on the basis of the population estimates as per the census of which the relevant figures have been published. 

• Within the coverage determined for each State, State Govt. to identify households. 

• Pregnant women and lactating mothers to be entitled to meals and maternity benefit of not less than Rs. 6,000. 

• Children in the age group of 6 months to 14 years to be entitled to meals as per specified nutritional norms, under ICDS and MDM schemes. 

• Eldest woman of the household of age 18 years or above to be the head of the household for the purpose of issuing of ration cards. 

• Grievance redressal mechanism at the District and State levels. States will have the flexibility to use the existing machinery or set up separate mechanism. 

• Central Government to provide assistance to States in meeting the expenditure incurred by them on transportation of foodgrains within the State, its handling and FPS dealers margin as per norms to be devised for this purpose. 

• Provisions for transparency and accountability such as placing PDS related records to be in public domain, Social audit, Vigilance Committees at various levels 

• Provision for food security allowance to entitled beneficiaries in case of non-supply of entitled foodgrains or meals 

• Provision for penalty on public servant or authority, to be imposed by the State Food Commission, in case of failure to comply with the relief recommended by the District Grievance Redressal Officer. 

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