National Food Security Act

The National Development Council (NDC) in its 53rd meeting held on 29th May, 2007 adopted a resolution to launch a Food Security Mission comprising rice, wheat and pulses to increase the production of rice by 10 million tons, wheat by 8 million tons and pulses by 2 million tons by the end of the Eleventh Plan (2011-12). For the next five year plan, the National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA 2013) converts into legal entitlements for existing food security programmes of the government of India. It includes the Midday Meals Scheme and the Public Distribution System. Further, the NFSA 2013 recognizes maternity entitlements. The Midday Meals Scheme and the integrated Child Development Services Scheme are universal in nature whereas the PDS will reach to about two-thirds of the population (75% in rural areas and 50% in urban areas).

Its salient features are: Supply three years of 5 kg food grains per month at 3, 2, 1 per kg per rice wheat and coarse grains (millets) respectively: States are responsible for determining eligibility criteria; Pregnant women and lactating mother’s are entitled to a nutritious “take home ration” of 600 Calories and a maternity benefit of at least Rs:6,000 for six months; children 6 months to 14 years of age are to receive free hot meals or “take home ration”; and the central government will provide funds to states in case of short supplies of food grains.

The current food grains allocation of the states will be protected by the central government for at least six months. The eldest woman in the household, 18 years or above is the head of the house hold for the issuance of the ration card. There will be and State Food Commission will be formed for implementation and monitoring of the provisions of the Act. The cost of implementation is estimated to be $22 billion, approximately 1.5% of GDP. The poorest that are covered under the Antodaya Yojana will remain entitled to the 35 kg of grains allotted to them.