From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : NFS Act
Mains level : Assurance of Food Security
The government has initiated the process of ascertaining the new State/UT-specific coverage ratios for rural and urban areas under the National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA).
Try this question:
Q.In the ongoing crisis, maintaining the level of food security has become one of the most essential needs. In light of the above statement, critically examine the priority areas for maintaining food security in the country. Suggest measures to make accessibility and availability of food easier for all. (250W)
National Food Security (NFS) Act
- The NFS Act, 2013 aims to provide subsidized food grains to approximately two-thirds of India’s 1.2 billion people.
- It was signed into law on 12 September 2013, retroactive to 5 July 2013.
- It converts into legal entitlements for existing food security programmes of the GoI.
- It includes the Midday Meal Scheme, Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme and the Public Distribution System (PDS).
- Further, the NFSA 2013 recognizes maternity entitlements.
- The Midday Meal Scheme and the ICDS are universal in nature whereas the PDS will reach about two-thirds of the population (75% in rural areas and 50% in urban areas).
- Under the provisions of the bill, beneficiaries of the PDS are entitled to 5 kilograms per person per month of cereals at the following prices:
- Rice at ₹3 per kg
- Wheat at ₹2 per kg
- Coarse grains (millet) at ₹1 per kg.
- Pregnant women, lactating mothers, and certain categories of children are eligible for daily free cereals.
Why such a move?
- At present, NFSA covers up to 75 per cent of the rural population and 50 per cent of the urban population in the country.
- Based on this, state-wise coverage under NFSA was determined by the erstwhile Planning Commission—now NITI Aayog.
- It was done by using the National Sample Survey Household Consumption Expenditure Survey data for 2011-12.
- Since then, the state-wise coverage ratio has not been revised.
- Currently, Manipur has the highest coverage in rural areas across the country (88.56 per cent), while Andaman & Nicobar Islands has the lowest (24.94 per cent).
- Manipur is followed by Jharkhand (86.48 per cent), Bihar (85.12 per cent) and Chhattisgarh (84.25 per cent).
- In urban areas too, Manipur has the maximum coverage ratio (85.75 per cent), while Andaman & Nicobar Islands has the lowest (1.70 per cent).
- In urban areas, Manipur is followed by Bihar (74.53 per cent), Uttar Pradesh (64.43 per cent) and Madhya Pradesh (62.61 per cent).