A landmark legislation, the National Food Security Act (NFSA) aims at providing certain rights and entitlements to the underprivileged households in a hope to provide them with proper nourishment. Implemented on the 12th September 2013, the act comprises:
Most importantly, under this act, the government has allocated subsidized food grains to 2/3rd of India’s population. NFSA especially focuses on the aged, infirm, and destitute women.
The primary purpose of the act is to provide for food and nutritional security by making food accessible both quantitatively and qualitatively at affordable prices to people. The constitution empowers every citizen to live a life with dignity.
Under this act, the ‘eligible households’ are defined under the following two categories:
The Central Government on the basis of latest census figures determines the coverage of the population in the rural and urban area belonging to eligible households. As of now, the act targets 75% of the rural and up to 50% of the urban Indian population.
Every household covered under the act will be entitled to a total of 5 kgs of foodgrains, per person, per month. Households covered under AAY will be entitled to 35 kgs of food grains, per month. The price not exceeding Rs. 3 per kg for rice, Rs. 2 per kg of wheat and Rs. 1 per kg of coarse grains for a period of three years. These prices would be maintained for the first three years of the commencement of the act after which the prices fixed by the Central Government (not exceeding the Minimum Support Price) shall take effect. In case there is a shortage of food grain, the beneficiaries of the act will be compensated with a food security allowance in the form of money.
Under this act, each state is required to form an internal Grievance Redressal Mechanism. These may include call centres, helplines, the appointment of nodal officers, or other such mechanism mentioned in the act.
The beneficiaries of the TPDS are divided into three main categories:
|Beneficiaries (Rs. in Crores)||
Foodgrains Allowed (KG)
|APL||18.04||15 – 35|
Every state Government prescribes a separate application form for acquiring a ration card. These forms can be submitted manually, or, online for obtaining a ration card. Common procedures that are generally followed in most of the states are given below.
The eligibility criteria for obtaining ration card from the state Govt – An Individual:
The list of documents to be submitted at the local ration office by the applicant:
The applicant must pay a basic minimum fee along with the application form. Once submitted, the application is sent for field verification. The officer in charge has to inspect and certify the details submitted by the applicant for further processing. The inspection is to be carried out within 30 days from the date of submission of the application.
Once the details are verified and confirmed by the officer, the ration card is created and issued to the applicant based on their annual income. If the application is rejected, a rejection letter is issued with reasons for the same to the applicant. In case of any false/misleading information, the applicant would be liable for criminal prosecution and consequent punishment under the law.
The driving force behind the National Food security act (NFSA) is India’s nutritional requirement. Given the staggering rate at which poverty is widespread, NFSA steps in to make sure that people are not denied the right to food under any circumstances.