Review of Food Policy
New Delhi: There is no proposal to review the country’s food policy. Government of India enacted National Food Security Act (NFSA) which came into force w.e.f. July, 2013. NFSA provides for coverage of upto 75% of the rural population and upto 50% of the urban population for receiving foodgrains under Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS), thus covering about two-thirds of the population of the country for receiving foodgrains @ Rs 1/2/3 per kg for nutri-cereals/wheat/rice respectively. Identification of beneficiaries under the Act is under two categories- households covered under Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and Priority Households (PHH), within the coverage determined for the State/UT. While Priority Households are entitled to receive 5 kg per person per month, AAY households, which constitute the poorest of the poor, continue to receive 35 Kg of foodgrains per household per month. At present, the Act is being implemented in all the States/UTs covering about 80 crore persons to get highly subsidized foodgrains. The coverage under the Act is substantially high to ensure that all the vulnerable and needy sections of the society get its benefit.
The Government of India makes additional allocation of foodgrains for natural calamities based on the request of State/UT Govt. As per the extant norms, in case of natural calamities, the allocation of foodgrains for 3 months of demand can be made to the States/UTs on the basis of the request received so that the relief measures are not affected.
The implementation of NFSA through the Public Distribution System (PDS) is a joint responsibility of the Central and State Governments/UT Administrations, and the State Governments/UT Administrations are responsible for the identification of beneficiaries under the NFSA. The scheme of End-to-End Computerization of the PDS has ensured rightful targeting of the beneficiaries all over the country. Further, Government of India has issued advisories to all States/UTs to identify and cover the weakest sections of the society under PDS and launch special drives to issue ration cards to them. Advisories have been issued to all State/UTs that no beneficiary/household shall be deleted from the list of eligible beneficiaries/households only on the grounds of not possessing Aadhaar and shall also not be denied subsidized foodgrains or cash transfer of food subsidy under NFSA due to non-availability of Aadhaar or failure of biometric authentication.
This information was given in a written reply by the Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Danve Raosaheb Dadarao in Rajya Sabha yesterday.