Why in news?
FCI sets an all-time record in a single day’s transportation of food grains.
About the FCI:
- Food Corporation of India (FCI) is a Public Sector Undertaking, under the Department of Food & Public Distribution, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, GOI.
- It is a statutory body set up in 1965 under the Food Corporations Act, 1964. It was established against the backdrop of major grains shortage, especially of wheat.
- FCI Objectives:
- To provide farmers remunerative prices
- To make food grains available at reasonable prices, particularly to vulnerable sections of society
- To maintain buffer stocks for food security
- To intervene in market for price stabilization
National Food Security Act
- The Act was signed into law on 12th September 2013 retroactive to 5th July 2013.
- The Act is in line with Goal Two of
the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations
- Goal 2 seeks sustainable solutions to end hunger in all its forms by 2030 and to achieve food security.
- The aim is to ensure that everyone everywhere has enough good-quality food to lead a healthy life.
- Schemes such as the Mid-Day Meal Scheme (MDM), the Public Distribution System (PDS), and the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) are included under the Act.
- The Act is being implemented by all the States and the Union Territories.
The major features of the Act are
- Coverage: The state-wise coverage determined by the NITI Aayog on the basis of the 2011-12 Household Consumption Expenditure survey of NSSO.
- The Act legally entitled up to 75% of the rural population and 50% of the urban population to receive subsidized foodgrains under the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS).
- About two-thirds of the population, therefore, is covered under the Act to receive highly subsidized foodgrains.
- The food grains would be provided at highly subsidized prices under the Public Distribution System.
- The Act ensures nutritional support to women and children. Pregnant and lactating women would be entitled to nutritious meals, free of charge under the MDM and ICDS schemes.
- Children in the age group of 6-14 years would also be entitled to free nutritious meals under the MDM and ICDS schemes.
- Maternity benefit of not less than Rs.6000 is also provided to pregnant women and lactating mothers.
- The Act also empowers women by identifying the eldest woman of the household as the head of the household for the purpose of issuing ration cards.
- The Central Government will be aiding the States to meet the expenditure incurred by them on transportation of foodgrains within the State and will also handle the Fair Price Shop (FPS) dealers’ margins according to the norms.
- There is a provision of a food security allowance to the beneficiaries in the event of non-supply of food grains.
- Transparency: Provisions have been made to disclose the records related to the PDS to ensure transparency.
Beneficiaries of the National Food Security Act:
The Act covers two-thirds of the entire population under two categories of beneficiaries:
- Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) households
- Priority Households (PHH)
- AAY households encompass the households
headed by widows or disabled persons or persons aged 60 years or more with
no assured means of subsistence or societal support.
- It usually takes into account the households of those below the poverty line too.
- It also includes support for women and children.
- NFSA gives the right to receive food-grains at subsidized prices by people belonging to eligible households, i.e., the PHH. A major section of the ration card holders in the priority sector comes under this category. This is an effort to alleviate poverty.
- The work of identification of eligible households within the coverage under TPDS determined for each state is to be done by the states and the UTs.