81 Crore Indians To Get Free Ration One Nation – One Price – One Ration

by WebDesk
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Food security is of prominent importance to the growth of the Nation. India has come a long way since independence in 1947 to take steps towards achieving food security and thus finding solutions to problems like Hunger and starvation.
In a major step recently,
The Union cabinet recently announced the discontinuation of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), under which free rations were provided to the poor as relief during the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, it said that the food grains provided under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) at a subsidised rate to 75% of the rural population and 50% of urban population would be free for all of 2023.
Apart from subsidised rations, the Act also provides for free rations to pregnant women, growing children and other such vulnerable groups.
The new integrated scheme subsumes or combines two current food subsidy schemes of the Department of Food and Public Distribution- a) Food Subsidy to Food Corporation of India (FCI) for NFSA, and b) Food Subsidy for decentralized procurement states, dealing with procurement, allocation and delivery of free foodgrains to the states under NFSA.
Strengthening National Food Security Act
It is a scheme to strengthen the provisions of NFSA, 2013 in terms of accessibility, affordability and availability of foodgrains for the poor and the vulnerable section of society.
In another major vision for the country, The Centre has social and legal commitment to the people of the nation- a dignified life by ensuring them access to food and nutritional security through availability of adequate quantity of quality foodgrains.
To fulfill this commitment to the most vulnerable 67% of population i.e. 81.35 crore persons covered under NFSA, the Cabinet decided to launch a new Central Sector scheme to stand by the vision of One Nation – One Price – One Ration.
Briefing the decision after the meeting of the Cabinet, Union Food Minister Piyush Goyal said the move was yet another reflection of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pro-poor stand. He said that for 28 months, the Prime Minister’s Garib Kalyan Ann Yojna ensured 5kg of foodgrains for the poor for free.
Higher Accessibility, Affordability, Availability Of Food Grains
This is another remarkable decision of the government. The Prime Minister has taken a decision to provide free foodgrains for 81.35 crore people who are covered under the NFSA,” Mr. Goyal said, adding that the entire expenses for the scheme would be borne by the Centre.
Mr. Goyal said though the economic situation after the pandemic was normal, a decision was taken to extend the benefits of the Antyodaya Ann Yojana, PMGKAY and the NFSA to more people by merging them. The PMGKAY, launched during the lockdown in April 2020, was scheduled to end on December 31, 2022.
per Section 10 of NFSA, the responsibility for the identification of beneficiaries lies with the States/UT Governments. While the criteria for identifying AAY beneficiaries are already specified in the AAY guidelines, every State/UT is required to evolve criteria for identifying PHH within the determined number. Accordingly, for PHH identification purposes, most of the States/UTs have modified the SECC (Socio-Economic and Caste Census) criteria and have also added certain inclusion/exclusion criteria such as residential vulnerability, age, disabilities and income, among others.
The process of inclusion or exclusion of beneficiaries under the NFSA is an ongoing exercise. During 2014-2021, several initiatives have been taken to improve the access to PDS such as technology-driven PDS reforms, including digitisation of ration cards, de-duplication process, etc.
Odisha ranks high
Odisha has achieved the first rank in the state ranking index for National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA) and Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) operations. The state is followed by Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat.
In a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha on Wednesday, Union Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti said the first-ever state ranking index was released to evaluate implementation of NFSA and TPDS across states and UTs.
“The state ranking index aims at creating an environment of competition, cooperation, and learning among states, promoting transparency, and publishing verified data in the public domain for research and analysis,” she said.
Some time back,
The Supreme Court has directed the Centre to increase coverage under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) so that “more and more needy persons and citizens get the benefit” under the 2013 law which entitles rural and urban poor to receive subsidised food grains under the Targeted Public Distribution System.
The coverage under the NFSA is still as per the population figures of 2011 census.
In an eight-page order, a Bench of Justices M. R. Shah and B. V. Nagarathna ordered the Union government to re-determine the NFSA coverage in States and Union Territories after taking into consideration the population increase between 2011-2021 so that benefits are not restricted to beneficiaries identified way back in 2011.
One hopes that we as country continue to take steps in ensuring food security.

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