National Food Security Act and Human Life Cycle Approach
The text of the National Food Security Act mentions it as an act to provide for food and nutritional security in “human life cycle approach, by ensuring access to adequate quantity of quality food at affordable prices to people to live a life with dignity.”
Life cycle approach here implies that the Food Security Act has given legal entitlement to appropriate food throughout the life cycle of a human being beginning from pregnancy to old age. This means that the act provides “Right to Food” at every stage of a person’s life as follows:
- Right to Food at Pregnancy: State Government shall provide all pregnant and nursing women the – Take-home rations or nutritious and freshly cooked meals, free of charge, during pregnancy and 6 months thereafter through the local Anganwadis so as to meet the nutrition standards as well as maternity benefits of Rs. 1000 per month, for a period of six month. (Women in Government service don’t come under this rule).
- Right to food for Children between 0-6 years: State Government shall provide nutritious Take Home Rations and/or local and freshly cooked meals throughout the year through the local Anganwadi to all children in the age group of 0 – 3 years. The State Government will also provide the local and freshly cooked meal in the local Anganwadi, for at least 300 days in a year to all children in the age group of 3 to 6 years.
- Children of 6-14 years: State Government shall provide all children of the age group 6 to 14 years, at least one freshly cooked nutritious midday meal in all schools run by local bodies, government and government-aided schools up to Class 8 or beyond, as may be specified by the central and state governments from time to time, everyday of the year, except school holidays, of equal or greater amount, as per norms specified. However, a child cannot be denied of food in whatever condition. Any child below the age of 14, including those that are out-of-school, may approach any feeding facility such as Anganwadis centre, school mid-day meal for a freshly cooked nutritious meal.
- Above 14 Years: The eligible person gets Rice @Rs. 3 per Kg, Wheat @Rs. 2 per Kg and Coarse Grains @Rs. 1 Kg per month subject to maximum 5Kg per month.