Q. What is the news?
NITI Aayog, through a discussion paper, has recommended reducing the rural and urban coverage under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013, to 60% and 40%, respectively.
- It has also proposed a revision of beneficiaries as per the latest population which is currently being done through Census- 2011.
Q. What is the objective of National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013?
A. To provide for food and nutritional security in the human life cycle approach, by ensuring access to adequate quantities of quality food at affordable prices to people to live a life with dignity.
Q. What is its Coverage?
75% of the rural population and upto 50% of the urban population for receiving subsidized foodgrains under Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS).
- Overall, NFSA caters to 67% of the total population.
Q. What are its eligibility criteria?
- Priority Households to be covered under TPDS, according to guidelines by the State government.
- Households covered under existing Antyodaya Anna Yojana.
Q. What are the provisions of NFSA?
- 5 Kgs of foodgrains per person per month at Rs. 3/2/1 per Kg for rice/wheat/coarse grains.
- The existing AAY household will continue to receive 35 Kgs of foodgrains per household per month.
- Meal and maternity benefit of not less than Rs. 6,000 to pregnant women and lactating mothers during pregnancy and six months after the child birth.
- Meals for children upto 14 years of age.
- Food security allowance to beneficiaries in case of non-supply of entitled foodgrains or meals.
- Setting up of grievance redressal mechanisms at the district and state level.
Q. What are the Issues in it?
- Number of Beneficiaries at Present:
- Approximately 2.37 crore households or 9.01 crore persons, as in February 2021 under Antyodaya Anna Yojana.
- While approximately 70.35 crore persons are under the priority households.
Q. What is the significance of the NITI Aayog’s Recommendations?
- If the rural-urban coverage ratio remains the same (67% of all population), then the total number of people covered will increase from the existing 81.35 crore to 89.52 crore - an increase of 8.17 crore (based on the projected 2020 population).
- This will result in an additional subsidy requirement of Rs. 14,800 crore.
- If the national coverage ratio is revised downward, the Centre can save up to Rs. 47,229 crore.
- This amount of savings can be utilised by the Government in other important areas of concern such as health and education.
Q. What are the challenges of the Move?
- In the times of Covid-19 pandemic, it will be a double burden (Unemployment and Food insecurity issues) on the poor section of the society.
- The move may be opposed by some of the states.