Highlights of Food Security Bill
The Food Security Bill provides right to food at subsidized prices to almost two third population of India. India is a signatory of Universal declaration of Human rights and to international Covenant of Economic, Social & cultural rights which include responsibility of provide food to everyone. Also eradicating poverty is one of millennium development goals of UN which is obligatory in nature to all members.
Right to Food
- Every citizen of India belonging to such eligible households as defined by appropriate govt shall receive 5kg food grains/person per month at subsidized price not exceeding Rs 3/kg for rice, 2/kg for wheat & Rs 1/kg for coarse grains for 3 yrs from commencement of this act, thereafter as per revised prices.
- The households covered under AAY (Antyodaya Anna Yojana) scheme shall receive same as certified by central govt i.e. (35 kg/household/month) food grains at above subsidized prices. The above entitlement shall extend up to population of 75% in rural areas and up to 50% in urban areas.
- Every pregnant woman under pregnancy and 6 months after birth of child shall be entitled to meal free of charge through local anganwadi and maternity benefit not <Rs 6000.The above entitlements excludes women those who are in regular employment with state/central govt.
- Every child till age of 14 yrs shall get meal free of charge either in Anganwadi (for 6 months-6 yrs child) or in govt schools (for age 6-14 yrs) as per nutritional standard specified in Schedule II of the act. The state govt shall monitor quality of nutrition to save children from malnutrition.
- If any govt fail to provide food to entitled persons then such persons have right to receive Food Security Allowance from concerned govt as per guidelines prescribed by Central Govt.
Reforms in Targeted PDS
- The Central & State govt shall try to make necessary reforms in TPDS such as door step delivery of Food grains, Transparency of records, computerization, schemes for food coupons/cash transfer, Aadhar linkage for benefits etc.
- The elder woman (>18 yrs) of every eligible household shall be head of household to receive benefits for purpose of women empowerment. If no woman (>18 yrs) then elder male member shall be head of household.
Grievance Redressal System
- Every state govt shall appoint a District Grievance Redressal Officer for effective remedies of grievances related to the distribution of entitled food grains.
- Every state govt shall constitute a State Food Commission for purpose of monitoring & implementation of act. The commission shall consist of a Chairperson, 5 members, a member-secretary (not below rank of Joint secretary) and shall hold office for max of 5 yrs or till age of 65 yrs.
- At least 2 women, 1 SC and 1 ST shall be elected from members/chairperson/secretary.
- The Functions of Commission are:-
- Inquire into violations of distribution of entitlements either Suo Motto or on receipt of complaint or on an appeal against decision of District Redressal Grievance Officer. In all cases, commission has power equivalent to civil court.
- Give advice to state govt on implementation and prepare annual reports.
- Two or more state can have a joint food commission for implementation of act. Also each state shall place an internal grievance redressal mechanism which includes call centers, help lines etc.
- The Central Govt shall allocate/provide food grains to state govt at subsidized prices, assistance to state govt in case of short of supply, assistance for handling of food grains & margin paid to fair price shop dealers as prescribed.
- The State Govt shall collect food grains from central govt designated depots, ensure actual delivery of food grains to entitled persons or food security allowance in case of non-supply, create and maintain storage facilities at state/dist/block level as per norms may be prescribed.
- The Local Authority shall be responsible for effective implementation of act in their respective areas and have to perform such functions as may be assigned by State Govt.
Transparency & Accountability
- Every record of TPDS shall be placed in public domain in manner as prescribed by State govt. Also every Local authority or authority of state govt shall make periodic social audits as prescribed by state govt.
- Every State shall set up Vigilance committees for regularly supervise implementation of act & Fair Price shops and to inform DGRO in case of any corruption, malpractice or violations etc.
- Any public servant/authority found guilty by State commission shall be liable to penalty of not exceeding 5000 rupees.
- Any state govt can continue or formulate food welfare schemes having more benefits than provided under this act.
- The act provides that Central Govt have powers to amend schedules and to make rules such as amount of Food Security Allowance, food coupons etc.
- The state govt have power to make rules such as internal grievance mechanism, manner of conduction of social audits etc.
- There is no liability of Central/state govt to provide food grains/meals to entitled persons in case of war, flood, drought, fire, cyclone or earthquake.