The National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013 was enacted by the Government of India on July 5, 2013. The objective of the Act is to provide subsidized food grains to two-thirds of the Indian population. The enactment of the NFSA marked the Indian government’s approach to food security from welfare to fundamental rights.
This Act makes for an important topic as part of the General Awareness preparation for competitive exams. It is tested in exams like NABARD Grade A, FCI AGM, SBI PO, IBPS RRB and RBI Assistant among others. If you are appearing for any of the Law Officer exams such as SEBI Grade A Legal Officer or RBI Grade B Legal Officer, you will find this topic to be particularly useful for your overall preparation.
National Food Security Act Overview
What is the National Food Security Act?
- The Act contains 13 Chapters and 4 Schedules.
- The Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) plays an important role in the entire workings of the Act. TPDS provides food security to people below the poverty line.
- State Food Commissions have been established at state levels to oversee that the objectives of this system are carried out.
- Under the system, beneficiaries will receive rice, wheat and millets at subsidized rates per person per month.
- These States and Union Territories are to determine the eligibility of families to derive benefits from this Act.
- Pregnant and lactating mothers have been guaranteed maternity benefits.
- Women’s Empowerment has been ensured by issuing ration cards to the eldest woman of the family above the age of 18.
- State and district level redressal mechanisms have been put in place. A penalty has also been devised for defaulting parties.
National Food Security Act Objectives
The aims and objectives of the NFSA have been provided below:
- To provide rationed food grains to 75% of the rural population and 50% of the urban population.
- To provide proper quality and quantity of food at subsidized/affordable rates.
- To ensure that women and children receive proper nutrition and upliftment of India’s overall health and nutrition standards.
The National Food Security Act also highlights related problems such as agriculture, sanitation, availability of clean drinking water, safe transportation of food grains and the like.
National Food Security Act Challenges
The NFSA has faced several challenges along its course. Some of these challenges have been listed below:
- COVID-19 Pandemic: Just the way all spheres of life were thrown off-track by the global pandemic, COVID-19 also put immense pressure on food resources.
- Lack of proper supply: There is a big gap between the demand & supply and the proper of transporting food grains to the beneficiaries.
- Fast-growing population: The growing population of India is putting pressure on all of its resources. Food resources are no exception.
- Climate change: The changing climate and global warming are deeply impacting crop production in India.
- Mitigating corruption: Corruption in India is possibly the major hurdle faced by any welfare program in India.
National Food Security Act Actions Required
Several steps need to be taken to tackle the aforementioned problems and to meet the aims of the NFSA. Some of these steps are:
- Special attention needs to be devoted to tackling food challenges caused by the COVID pandemic.
- Annihilating corruption at all strata of governance.
- Providing support to agriculture and allied fields.
- Tackling climate change.
National Food Security Act Through the Years
Danve Raosaheb Dadarao, the Minister of State for Food had said that 12 monitoring institutions have been employed to analyze and assess the “efficacy and impact of NFiod between 2020-2023.
The NSFA is one of the many acts and schemes that the government has introduced to ensure every citizen gets adequate quantities of nutritious food. There are several other laws and schemes related to food security as well. Some of these have been listed below:
- Food Safety and Standards Acts, 2006
- Infant Milk Substitutes, Feeding Bottles and Infant foods Act, 1992
- National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005
- Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954
- Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993
- Annapurna Schemes 2000-2001
- Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY)
- Integrated Child Development Services and Schemes (ICDS) 1975
- Mid-Day Meal Scheme, 1995
- National Food Security Mission, 2007
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