New Delhi: The Center launched a new integrated food security scheme on Sunday. The scheme will provide free foodgrains to 81.35 crore beneficiaries under NFSA for the year 2023 and aims to ensure effective and uniform implementation of the National Food Security Act (NFSA). The Cabinet decided to launch a new central sector scheme to fulfill the vision of One Nation-One Price-One Ration under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
This is a commitment of the government to the most vulnerable 67 percent of the population which is 81.35 crore persons covered under NFSA, according to the ministry’s statement. Under the scheme, the government will provide free foodgrains to all NFSA beneficiaries namely Antyodaya Ann Yojana (AAY) households and Priority Household (PHH) persons for one year through the wide network of 5.33 lakh fair price shops across the country, according to the statement. of the ministry of consumer affairs, food, and public distribution.
The decision will strengthen the provisions of NFSA, 2013, in terms of accessibility, affordability, and availability of foodgrains for the poor. The new integrated scheme will subsume two current food subsidy schemes of the department of food and public distribution (DFPD) namely food subsidy to Food Corporation of India (FCI) for NFSA, and sops for decentralized procurement states, which deal with procurement, allocation and delivery of free foodgrains under NFSA.
Free foodgrains will concurrently ensure uniform implementation of portability under the One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC) across the country and will further strengthen this choice-based platform. This means the ration card could be used anywhere in the country.
The Center will bear the food subsidy of more than Rs 2 lakh crore for 2023. The new scheme is aimed at bringing uniformity and clarity to food security under NFSA at the beneficiary level, the ministry statement said. For implementing this scheme, the ministry had said that the secretary of DFPD had taken a meeting with all state food secretaries on December 29, 2022.
The issues related to the distribution of free foodgrains were discussed including technical resolutions. All states and Union Territories assured to implement the free food grain scheme from January 1, 2023, according to the statement.
The government had issued an order to all general managers of FCI to visit three ration shops every day in different areas of their jurisdiction mandatorily from January 1 till 7 and submit a report to the DFPD nodal officer on a daily basis, in the given format for review and taking corrective action.
In view of free foodgrains, an advisory has been issued to the states/UTs on the mechanism to provide dealer’s margin for distributing foodgrains to the beneficiaries, the ministry said.