The National Food and Security Act of 2013 (NFSA2013) aims to ensure people’ food and nutritional security by assuring access to a sufficient quantity of high-quality food at reasonable prices. The National Food and Security Act of 2013 (NFSA2013) provides subsidised food grains to 75% of India’s rural population and 50% of its urban population. NFSA 2013 includes almost two-thirds of the Indian population in its entirety.
The salient features of the National Food Security Act, 2013
The Public Distribution System (PDS) is now governed by provisions of the National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA).
Coverage under PDS is de-linked from the erstwhile ‘poverty estimates’.
The Act provides coverage for nearly 2/3rd of the country’s total population, based on Census 2011 population estimates.
75% of Rural and 50% of Urban population is entitled to receive highly subsidised food grains under two categories of beneficiaries – Antodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) households and Priority Households (PHH).
State/UT-wise coverage is determined by the erstwhile Planning Commission (now NITI Ayog) on the basis of 2011-12 Household Consumption Expenditure survey of NSSO.
The Act entitles 35 kg of food grains per AAY Household per month, whereas 5 Kg of foodgrain per PHH Person per month.
Identification of beneficiaries/households under NFSA is done by the respective State/UT Government, which is required to frame its own criteria.
Highly subsidised Central Issue Prices of Re.1, Rs.2 and Rs.3 for Coarse-grains, Wheat and Rice respectively, kept unchanged till June 2019.
No reduction in foodgrains allocation to any State/UT under NFSA. Allocation gaps if any, are covered with Tide-Over allocation
Eldest woman of the beneficiary household (18 years or above) is considered as ‘Head of Family’ for the purpose of issuing ration cards.
Grievance redressal mechanism, through State Food Commissions, DGROs, Vigilance Committees at different levels are provisioned for Women Empowerment.
Provisions for disclosure of records relating to PDS operations, placing of beneficiaries’ list in public domain/portals, for enhanced transparency
Assistance to States/UTs for meeting expenditure on intra-State transportation & handling of foodgrains and FPS Dealers’ margin
How has food security bill helped in eliminating hunger and malnutrition in India?
1. Odisha has topped the ranking of states for implementation of the National Food Security Act (NFSA), followed by Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh, according to ‘State Ranking Index for NFSA’ 2022
‘State Ranking Index for NFSA’ 2022The current version of the Index measures the effectiveness of NFSA implementation majorly through operations and initiatives under TPDS (Targeted Public Distribution System).
2. Among the special category states (the North Eastern states, Himalayan states, and the Island states), Tripura has obtained the first rank. Himachal Pradesh and Sikkim are at the second and third positions. Despite the logistical limitations in these areas, they displayed a high degree of accomplishment in competing with the general category states as well.
3. Stunting in children under 5 years of age, according to the UN report, has decreased from 47.8% in 2012 to 34.7% in 2019.
Challenges That remain:
1. India has slipped to 101st place out of 116 countries in the Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2021, down from 94th place in 2020. With a score of 27.5, India falls into the serious category for hunger.
2. The proportion of undernourished in the population and the under-five child mortality rate are now at relatively low levels. While child stunting has seen a significant decrease—from 54.2 percent in 1998–1999 to 34.7 percent in 2016–2018—it is still considered very high. At 17.3 percent—according to the latest data—India has the highest child wasting rate of all countries covered in the GHI. This rate is slightly higher than it was in 1998–1999, when it was 17.1 percent.
NFSA must be complemented by massive “public health” campaigns to ensure a modern sewerage and sanitation system in every urban, semi-urban and semi rural area and pure drinking water, septic tanks and lavatories in rural areas.