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Right to food

This section covers information about various government initiatives taken under right to food

Food and Nutrition Security

Nutrition Security is being addressed through the National cooked Mid-day Meal Programme, ICDS, Kishori Shakti Yojana, Nutrition programme for Adolescent Girls and Pradhan Mantri Gramodaya Yojana.

Mid Day Meal Programme

The Mid Day Meal is the world’s largest school feeding programme reaching out to about 12 crore children in over 12.65 lakh schools/EGS centres across the country. Mid day Meal scheme is serving primary and upper primary school children in entire country. The programme aims at enhancing enrolment, retention and attendance and simultaneously improving nutritional levels among children studying in Government, Local Body and Government-aided primary and upper primary schools and the Centres run under Education Guarantee Scheme (EGS) / Alternative & Innovative Education (AIE) and National Children Labour Project (NCLP) schools of all areas across the country. MDM is also served in drought-affected areas during summer vacation also.

National Programme of Mid Day Meal in Schools (MDMS) is a flagship programme of the Government of India aiming at enhancing enrolment, retention and attendance and simultaneously improving nutritional levels among children studying in Government, Local Body and Government-aided primary and upper primary schools and the Centres run under Education Guarantee Scheme (EGS)/Alternative & Innovative Education (AIE) and National Children Labour Project (NCLP) schools of all areas across the country. MDM is also served in drought-affected areas during summer vacation also.

For More Information: Nutrition Support (141KB)

Source : Mid Day Meal Scheme

National Food Security Act

The National Food Security Act, 2013 was notified on 10th September, 2013 with the objective 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.

The Act provides for coverage of upto 75% of the rural population and upto 50% of the urban population for receiving subsidized foodgrains under Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS), thus covering about two-thirds of the population. The eligible persons will be entitled to receive 5 Kgs of foodgrains per person per month at subsidised prices of Rs. 3/2/1 per Kg for rice/wheat/coarse grains. The existing Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) households, which constitute the poorest of the poor, will continue to receive 35 Kgs of foodgrains per household per month.

The Act also has a special focus on the nutritional support to women and children. Besides meal to pregnant women and lactating mothers during pregnancy and six months after the child birth, such women will also be entitled to receive maternity benefit of not less than Rs. 6,000. Children upto 14 years of age will be entitled to nutritious meals as per the prescribed nutritional standards. In case of non-supply of entitled foodgrains or meals, the beneficiaries will receive food security allowance. The Act also contains provisions for setting up of grievance redressal mechanism at the District and State levels. Separate provisions have also been made in the Act for ensuring transparency and accountability.

Salient features of the bill include

  • All Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) or the poorest of the poor group, a priority group to receive 7 kg of subsidised foodgrains per person per month ie. 35 kg of foodgrain/family/month. General households will be entitled to atleast 3 kg/person/month. Upto 75 percent of the rural and up to 50 percent of the urban population will be covered by the bill. Of these, at least 46 percent of the rural and 28 percent of the urban population will be designated as priority households. The rest will be designated as general households.
  • Pregnant women and lactating mothers will be entitled to meals and maternity benefits of not less than Rs 6000. It is however restricted to two children only.
  • The eldest women of the household of age 18 years or above will be the head of the household for the purpose of issuing ration cards.
  • All beneficiaries will have to pay Rs 3/kg for rice, Rs 2/kg for wheat, Re 1/kg for coarse grains. These prices can be revised after the first three years, up to the level of the minimum support price (assured price paid by the Centre to farmers at the time it buys grains from them).

Food security allowance in case of non-supply of entitled food grains

The National Food Security Act, 2013 inter alia provides for payment of food security allowance to entitled persons by State Government in case of non-supply of entitled quantities of food grains, within such time and manner as may be prescribed by the Central Government. Accordingly, the Government has notified the Food Security Allowance Rules, 2015 on 21 January, 2015 to prescribe the norms and manner of this allowance. The rules have come into force on the date of their publication in the Official Gazette, i.e., 21.01.2015. As per these rules, the amount of food security allowance admissible to entitled persons is determined by multiplying the difference between the 1.25 times the minimum support price of the relevant food grain for that marketing season and the prices specified in Schedule I to the Act, with the quantity of non-supply. The allowance is payable by the end of the third week of the month following the month in which the non-supply occurred. The notification has been circulated to all the States/Union Territories on 12.02.2015 for necessary action.

For the complete National Food Security Act 2013, click here.

Government has also universalised Kishori Shakti Yojana to improve the nutritional and health status of girls in the 11 to 18 years age group. The Government has also launched the National Food Security Mission for Rs. 4882 crore.

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act

One of the long-standing demands of the right to food campaign (and of the labour movement in India) is a national "employment guarantee act". This demand was partially met in mid-2005 with the enactment of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA 2005). Under this Act, any adult willing to do casual labour at the minimum wage is entitled to employment on local public works within 15 days, subject to a limit of 100 days per household per year.

Public Distribution System

The Public Distribution System (PDS) plays an important role in the provision of food security. With a network of more than 4 lakh Fair Price Shops (FPS) claiming to distribute annually commodities worth more than Rs 15,000 crore to about 16 crore families, the PDS in India is perhaps the largest distribution network of its type in the world.

Antyodaya Anna Yojana

AAY has been expanded to cover additional one crore households, representing a 67% increase in coverage. A National Sample Survey Exercise points towards the fact that about 5% of the total population in the country sleeps without two square meals a day. This section of the population can be called as “hungry”. In order to make TPDS more focused and targeted towards this category of population, the “Antyodaya Anna Yojana” (AAY) was launched in December, 2000 for one crore poorest of the poor families. AAY contemplates identification of one crore poorest of the poor families from amongst the BPL families covered under TPDS within the States and providing them food grains at a highly subsidized rate of Rs.2/ per kg. for wheat and Rs. 3/ per kg for rice. The States/UTs are required to bear the distribution cost, including margin to dealers and retailers as well as the transportation cost. Thus the entire food subsidy is being passed on to the consumers under the scheme.

Source : Department of Food and Public Distribution, Government of India.

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