Centre to rename National Food Security Act
New Delhi: Aiming to maintain uniformity in the quantity of foodgrains and the price at which they are distributed across the country under the provisions of the National Food Security Act (NFSA) 2013, the Centre is reliably learnt to be contemplating a change in the nomenclature of the legislation to Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Khadya Suraksha Yojana.
Sources informed that the apart from ensuring uniformity in the quantity of foodgrains supplied under NFSA and their price, a significant driving point which has led the Centre to look at amending the name of the Act is that several state governments tend to top up the Central subsidy provided to them for implementing the provisions of NFSA with a nominal amount and run it as their own variant, even as the majority of the subsidy burden is borne by the Central government.
According to highly-placed sources, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution is learnt to have prepared a draft Cabinet note to seek an opinion on the matter from the Ministries of Law and Finance as well as other related departments.
They added that several such state governments through their schemes, which are variants of NFSA, even provide foodgrains free of cost to the beneficiaries and sometimes even at less than the price mandated under the Central Act.
Therefore, to check such ‘variations’ and to desist the state governments from running variants of NFSA and claiming them as their own initiatives, the Centre aims to change its nomenclature by prefixing it with the title ‘Pradhan Mantri’, sources pointed out.
Sources even said that while NFSA ensures doorstep delivery of subsidised foodgrains to the beneficiaries through fair-price shops, many states which are running variants of NFSA have distorted this provision by providing home delivery of subsidised foodgrains at the doorsteps of the beneficiaries, which has adversely affected the fair-price shops’ network in such states.
This too has led the Centre to ensure uniformity in the provisions of NFSA and sources indicated that there is a possibility that all such schemes run by the states may be subsumed under the NFSA once it is implemented with a new nomenclature.
The NFSA 2013 was enacted by the previous Congress-led UPA regime to ensure food security and provide access to quality food at reasonable price to the rural and urban poor.
Under it, rural and urban poor receive subsidised foodgrains through the targeted public distribution system (TPDS).