New integrated Food Security Scheme
The Central Government of India recently announced the launch of a new integrated food security scheme, which will provide free food grains to 81.35 crore beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) for the year 2023. The Cabinet has decided to implement this central sector scheme in order to fulfill the vision of “One Nation-One Price-One Ration” under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This commitment of the government is intended to benefit the most vulnerable 67% of the population, which is 81.35 crore persons covered under the NFSA.
Objectives of the Scheme
According to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, the government has a social and legal commitment to ensuring that the people of India have access to food and nutritional security, through the availability of quality food grains. The new scheme aims to ensure effective and uniform implementation of the National Food Security Act, and to provide accessibility, affordability, and availability of food grains for the poor. It will also enable uniform implementation of portability under the “One Nation One Ration Card” program, which allows ration cards to be used anywhere in the country.
Beneficiaries of the Scheme
Under the scheme, the government will provide free food grains to all NFSA beneficiaries, including Antyodaya Ann Yojana households and Priority Household persons, for one year through the network of 5.33 lakh fair price shops across the country. The food grains will be distributed through the widespread network of over five lakh Fair Price Shops across the country.
Implementation of the Scheme
- The new integrated scheme will subsume two current food subsidy schemes of the Department of Food and Public Distribution (DFPD): the food subsidy to the Food Corporation of India (FCI) for the NFSA, and sops for decentralized procurement states, which deal with the procurement, allocation, and delivery of free food grains under the NFSA.
- In order to implement the scheme, the Secretary of DFPD held a meeting with all state food secretaries on December 29, 2022, during which issues related to the distribution of free food grains were discussed, including technical resolutions. All states and Union Territories assured to implement the free food grain scheme from January 1, 2023.
- The government has also issued an order to all general managers of the FCI to visit three ration shops every day in different areas of their jurisdiction from January 1 until January 7, and to submit a report to the DFPD nodal officer on a daily basis for review and corrective action.
- In view of the free food grains, an advisory has been issued to the states and Union Territories on the mechanism for providing a dealer’s margin for distributing food grains to beneficiaries, as well as on the status of the implementation of the scheme.
Financial Implications of the Scheme
The Central Government will bear the food subsidy of more than Rs 2 lakh crore (200 billion rupees) for 2023. This decision will strengthen the provisions of the NFSA in terms of accessibility, affordability, and availability of food grains for the poor.
The launch of the new integrated food security scheme is a significant step towards fulfilling the government’s commitment to ensuring access to food and nutritional security for the people of India. The scheme will provide free food grains to 81.35 crore beneficiaries under the NFSA for the year 2023, and aims to ensure effective and uniform implementation of the National Food Security Act. It will also enable uniform implementation of portability under the “One Nation One Ration Card” program, and will be implemented through the network of 5.33 lakh fair price shops across the country.
Category: Government Schemes Current Affairs