The Indian government has taken a great step to protect the quality of food and to fight against the hunger of the people. This act was launched by the Parliament of India. Its main focus was to provide subsidized food grains to approx two third of Indian’s 1.2 billion people. It was introduced on 12 September 2013.
It includes the Midday Meal Scheme, Integrated Child Development Services scheme and the Public Distribution System. The Midday Meal Scheme and the Integrated Child Development Services Scheme are universal in nature whereas the PDS will reach about two-thirds of the population (75% in rural areas and 50% in urban areas).
Main features of NFS Act
Identification of Households: Within the coverage under TPDS determined for each State, the work of identification of eligible households is to be done by States/UTs.
Maternity Benefit: Pregnant women and lactating mothers will also be entitled to receive maternity benefit of not less than Rs. 6,000.
Cost of intra-State transportation & handling of foodgrains and FPS Dealers’ margin: Central Government will provide assistance to States in meeting the expenditure incurred by them on transportation of foodgrains within the State, its handling and FPS dealers’ margin as per norms to be devised for this purpose.
Penalty: Provision for a penalty on public servant or authority, to be imposed by the State Food Commission, in case of failure to comply with the relief recommended by the District Grievance Redressal Officer.
Coverage and entitlement under Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS): Up to 75% of the rural population and 50% of the urban population will be covered under TPDS, with uniform entitlement of 5 kg per person per month.
However, since Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) households constitute poorest of the poor, and are presently entitled to 35 kg per household per month, the entitlement of existing AAY households will be protected at 35 kg per household per month.
State-wise coverage: Corresponding to the all India coverage of 75% and 50% in the rural and urban areas, State-wise coverage will be determined by the Central Government.
Women Empowerment: Eldest woman of the household of age 18 years or above to be the head of the household for the purpose of issuing of ration cards.
Transparency and Accountability: Provisions have been made for disclosure of records relating to PDS, social audits and setting up of Vigilance Committees in order to ensure transparency and accountability.
Food Security Allowance: Provision for food security allowance to entitled beneficiaries in case of non-supply of entitled foodgrains or meals.
Under the provisions of the bill, beneficiaries of the Public Distribution System (or, PDS) are entitled to 5 kilograms (11 lb) per person per month of cereals at the following prices:
Pregnant women, lactating mothers, and certain categories of children are eligible for daily free cereals.