National Food Security Act (NFSA) – 2013
(Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution)
Provisions in NFSA
Monitoring and reviewing
Status of implementation of NFSA
Shortcomings of NFSA
Hurdles in the success of NFSA
- The National Food Security Act, 2013 is an act of the parliament of India.
- It was passed on 10th September 2013.
- It comes under the ministry of ‘Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution’.
- It makes ‘Right to Food’ a legal entitlement.
- It aims to provide subsidized food grains to approximately 2/3rd of India’s population i.e. 75% in rural areas and 50% in urban areas.
- It is a life-cycle approach as it starts from birth to the end of the life as made clear by this figure-
NFSA relies on three existing programs to provide food and nutritional security:
(i) The Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS)- Under TPDS subsidized food grains are provided about 2/3rd of the population (Up to 75% of the rural population and 50% of the urban population).
(ii) The Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS)– Under ICDS programs, free meal is provided to all children (6 months to 6 years) and their mothers at the Anganwadi (child care centers).
(iii) The mid-day meal (MDM) program – MDM programs ensure a free meal to all children at government primary schools.
Provisions in NFSA
(1) Regarding TPDS:
(i) Coverage and entitlement:
- Up to 75% of the rural population and 50% of the urban population will be covered under TPDS, with uniform entitlement of 5 kg per person per month.
- However, the beneficiaries under Antyodaya Anna Yojana will keep receiving the 35 Kg per household per month at same rates.
- coverage under NFSA is under two categories:
(ii) Identification of eligible households by state governments: State government are required to identify the eligible households and then placed in the public domain and display it.
(iii) subsidized prices:
- Subsidised prices for food grains are, 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.
- Thereafter prices will be as fixed by the Central Government from time to time, not exceeding MSP.
- The above-mentioned prices will be continued till June,2019.
(2) Regarding ICDS and MDM:
(i) Nutritional Support to women and children: Pregnant women and lactating mothers and children in the age group of 6 months to 14 years will be entitled to meals. Higher nutritional norms have been prescribed for malnourished (poorly nourished) children up to 6 years of age.
(ii) Maternity Benefit: Pregnant women and lactating mothers will also be entitled to receive [simple_tooltip content=’Every woman shall be entitled to, and her employer shall be liable for, the payment of maternity benefit, which is the amount payable to her at the rate of the average daily wage for the period of her actual absence.’]maternity benefit [/simple_tooltip] of not less than Rs. 6,000.
(3) Other Provisions:
(i) Women empowerment: 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.
(ii) Penalty: Any public servant or authority found guilty, by the State Commission in case of failure to decide any complaint/appeal or to provide the relief recommended by the District Grievance Redressal Officer, without reasonable cause, shall be liable to penalty not exceeding Rs. 5000.
(iii) Transparency and Accountability: In order to ensure transparency and accountability, provisions have been made for disclosure of records relating to PDS, social audits and setting up of [simple_tooltip content=’: A vigilance committee was a group formed of private citizens to administer law and order where they considered governmental structures to be inadequate.’]Vigilance Committees. [/simple_tooltip]
(iv) Food Security Allowance: The act entitles all eligible persons to a food security allowance in case of not providing the entitled quantities of food grains/meals. This payment has to be made by the state government to each person.
(v) Obligation of the central Government, state Government and local authorities:
(vii) State wise coverage:
- Corresponding to the all India coverage of 75% and 50% in the rural and urban areas, State-wise coverage will be determined by the Central Government by using the NSS Household Consumption Survey data for 2011-12.
- Till Dec. 2014 it was determined by Planning commission, after that it has been determined by NITI Ayog as planning commission is replaced by NITI Ayog in 2015.
Monitoring and Reviewing
The act has a two-tier grievance redressal body for monitoring and reviewing the implementation of the act.
(1) State Food Commission (SFC)
- A State Food Commission (SFC) will be built in every state by State government for monitoring and reviewing the implementation of the Act.
The SFC shall consist of:
- A chairperson
- A member-secretary
- Five other members
- Central Government provides one- time Central assistance of up to Rs.50 lakh for non-building assets for the State Food Commission.
(2) A [simple_tooltip content=’Grievance Redressal is a management- and governance-related process used in organizations. It primarily covers the receipt and processing of complaints from citizens and consumers.’]grievance redressal [/simple_tooltip] mechanism: Every State Government shall put in place an internal grievance redressal mechanism in districts which may include call centers, help lines, designation of nodal officers, or such other mechanism as may be prescribed.
Status of implementation of NFSA
- The Act is now being implemented in all the States/UTs.
- As on Feb 2019, 72 crore persons are being covered out of intended coverage of 81.34 crore persons. This includes 2.36 crore families belonging to AAY Category.
- In Chandigarh, Puducherry and urban areas of Dadra & Nagar Haveli, the Act is being implemented in the cash transfer mode, under which food subsidy is credited directly into the bank accounts of beneficiaries to buy food grains from the open market.
(under section 12 of the act)
- Door-step delivery of the food-grains.
- End-to-end computerization
- Full transparency of records
- Leveraging Aadhar for unique identification and proper targets of benefits
- Provision of cash transfer in some states.
Shortcomings of NFSA
Major shortcomings or flaws of the scheme are as under:
(1) Inefficient quantity provided to individual: 5 KG per month food grains is not sufficient for an adult person as an adult person needs 14 Kg. per month.
(2) Focuses only on cereals: pulses, oil, fruits, vegetable etc. are not provided which are also necessary for overall growth.
(3) Delaying in providing maternity benefits
(4) May cause inflation: If so much food grains are kept out of open market, it leads to food inflation, middle class will suffer because deficiency of food grains in the open market leads to price rising. As more demand and less supply leads to price inflation.
(5) lack of an effective redressal system as well as for villagers not easy to go to redressal officer.
Hurdles in success of NFSA
(1) Identification of eligible beneficiaries: due to limited availability and lack of transparency in the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) data.
(2) High fiscal burden on central government
(3) Inefficient storage capacity
(4) Corruption at every level
(5) No implementation of new technology as tracking trucks by GPS, CCTV in go downs etc.
(6) Growing population