New Delhi: The roll out of center’s new integrated food security Scheme began on 1st January, 2023. As per the decision made by union cabinet, the new Scheme would provide free food grains to 81.35 crore beneficiaries under NFSA, for the year 2023. The Scheme would also ensure effective and uniform implementation of National Food Security Act (NFSA).
Government of India has social & legal commitment to the people of the nation- a dignified life by ensuring them access to food and nutritional security through availability of adequate quantity of quality foodgrains. For fulfilling this commitment to the most vulnerable 67% of population i.e. 81.35 crore persons covered under NFSA, the cabinet decided to launch a new Central Sector scheme to fulfill the vision of One Nation - One Price - One Ration.
Under the scheme, Government of India will provide free foodgrains to all NFSA beneficiaries i.e. Antyodaya Ann Yojana (AAY) households & Priority Household (PHH) persons for the next one year through the wide spread network of 5.33 lakhs Fair Price Shops across the country. The decision will strengthen the provisions of NFSA, 2013 in terms of accessibility, affordability and availability of foodgrains for the poor.
The new integrated scheme will subsume two current food subsidy schemes of the Department of Food and Public Distribution- a) Food Subsidy to FCI for NFSA, and b) Food Subsidy for decentralized procurement states, dealing with procurement, allocation and delivery of free foodgrains to the states under NFSA.
Free foodgrains will concurrently ensure uniform implementation of portability under One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC) across the country and will further strengthen this choice-based platform. Central Government will bear the food subsidy of more than Rs. 2 Lakh crore for the year 2023. The new scheme is aimed at bringing uniformity and clarity on food security under NFSA at beneficiary level.
To implement the decision in the field, the Secretary, DFPD took a meeting with all State Food Secretaries on 29 December, 2022. The issues related to distribution of free foodgrains were discussed including technical resolutions. All States and UTs assured to implement the free foodgrain scheme from 1st January, 2023.
Notification of modified Schedule I reflecting zero price of foodgrains for AAY and PHH beneficiaries from 1st January 2023 to 31st December 2023 was issued on 31 December and shared with the States/UTs.
Also an order was issued for all General Managers of FCI to visit three ration shops every day in different areas of their jurisdiction mandatorily from 1st January, 2023 to 7th January, 2023 and submit a report to the DFPD Nodal Officer on a daily basis, in the given format for review and taking corrective action. In view of free foodgrains, an advisory was also issued to the States/UTs on the mechanism to provide Dealer’s Margin for distributing foodgrains to the beneficiaries.