- National Food Security Bill (NFSB) was introduced by the Ministry of ‘Food, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution’ in parliament in December 2011.
- The Bill was sent to the Standing Committee on ‘Food, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution’ having Chairman, ‘Vilas Baburao Muttemwar’ in January 2012.
- In January 2013, Standing Committee submitted it’s report, and the bill was introduced in Lok Sabha on August 7th, 2013. The Bill was passed in Lok Sabha on 25th August 2013.
- The Bill proposes food grain entitlements for up to 75 % of the rural and up to 50 % of the urban population, i.e. 67% of the overall population.
- This Bill proposes to give 5kg of grains per month per person at subsidized prices, i.e.3 rs per kg for rice, 2 rs per kg for wheat and 1 rs per kg for coarse grains.
- The poorest households would continue to receive 35 kilograms of grains per month under the “Antyodaya Anna Yojana” at subsidized prices.
- Every pregnant and lactating mother shall be entitled to get free meal during pregnancy and 6 months after child birth. And they will also get maternity benefit of not less than Rs.6000/-.
- It’ll cost 1.24 lakh crore to implement this.
- If Central Govt. failed to provide food grains, it will give food security allowance to the entitled persons.
- States will identify the Beneficiaries.
- This bill also introduces reforms to TPDS (Targeted Public Distribution System) such as cash transfer, Food Coupons etc. to ensure transparency.
- The eldest woman will be the head of the household. Thus it also helps in women empowerment.
- Children aged from 6 months to 6 years will get free meals from local anganwadi.
- Every state govt shall take steps for grievance handling through call centers, help lines etc.
In Favor :-
- ‘Right to food’ will become a legal right.
- This bill helps to eliminate hunger and malnutrition in the country.
- Inflation is on the rise, this is the time poor people need food security.
- It helps in empowerment of women, as the eldest woman will be the head of the family.
- Nutritious food will be given to pregnant and lactating mothers. This will lead to healthier families.
In Against :-
- These food grains will be distributed through the already existing PDS (Public Distribution System). This PDS has many loopholes such as leakages of food grains, corruption etc.
- The exact no. of poor is not calculated correctly. Different departments are giving different numbers. And the criteria for ‘deciding who is poor’ is not upto the mark.
- The cost of this bill, Rs.1.24 lakh crore will be a burden for the government, and may lead to fiscal deficit.
- As most of the food grains will be procured by Govt, exports will reduced, which is a big threat to the economy.
- Farmers have to sell their food grains for procurement prices rather than market prices. It will be loss for farmers.
- It’s better if govt provide them employment rather than providing food.
- Small farmers may shift to other crops, as they may get the subsidized food grains. This may reduce the production of food grains.
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