THE NATIONAL FOOD SECURITY ACT 2013

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The National Food Security Act, 2013 is an act to protect the people of India with sufficient quantity of quality food at subsidized rate. One of the most serious challenges faced by our country is poverty and malnutrition. This Act intent to quash these two major challenges. The Act extents to whole of India. The Act consists of 45 sections in 13 chapters. According to the provisions of this Act the beneficiaries will get five kilograms of rice at Rs.3, wheat at Rs.2 and millet at Rs.1 per kilograms. Pregnant women, lactating mothers and children will get free meals through anganwadi. The bill was introduced in December 2012 and it came into force on 5th July 2013.

The object of the Act is to provide for food and nutritional security of the people by ensuring access to adequate quantity of quality food at affordable prices. The provision of food grain supply at subsidized rate and daily meals are provided to meet the nutritional standard. The Act has the provision of maternity benefit not less than 6000 Rs. as installment. The Act also provides provisions for proper facilities for drinking water, cooking and sanitation in schools and anganwadi. 75% of the rural households and 50% of the urban households will get this benefit. This Act also has the provisions for empowerment of women that is the ration card is issued with the name of the eldest women who is not less than 18 years of age as the head but in cases without female member male member will be recognized as the head. An officer will be appointed as the District Grievances Officer to look after the complaints. Sec. 16 of the Act provides for the creation of State Food Commission with a chairperson and five other members. The tenure of these members will be five years and this commission will monitor and evaluate the implementation of this Act. The Commission shall give necessary advice to the Government to make necessary steps and the Commission will hear appeal from District Grievance Officer. The commission shall prepare reports and it should be put before the State Legislature. Sec. 19 of the Act provides for Joint State Food Commission. Under Sec. 22 of the Act the Central Government should allocate the required quantity of food grain from the central pool to the State Government. Pool means the stock of food grains procured by Central and State Government at minimum support prize. The Central Government and State Government have the responsibility to provide with sufficient food grains to the Public Distribution System. If the Government fails to provide food grains then food security allowance will be provided by the Government to the beneficiaries. The public distribution system is established under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs for the supply of food grains at subsidized rate. . Also the Public Distribution system must maintain a transparency. Under Sec.29 of the Act every State Government shall constitute a vigilance committee.

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Food security is a major issue in almost all the countries. World Food Conference 1974, World Food Summit 1996 and the Rome Declaration of Food Security along with the summit which reaffirmed the right of everyone to have access to safe and nutritious food, United Nations recognition of Right To Food in the Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 Millennium Development Goals is yet another step by the United Nations to avoid poverty and food insecurity. And the steps put forward by Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and identification of four pillars by FAO as availability, access, utility and stability are the important foundation stones on food security in international arena. World Food Conference 1974 coined the term food security. The Constitution of India also supports the National Food Security Act enacted by the Parliament because the constitution prefers for a welfare state.

Speaking about the achievements of the Act in present situation we could not say that this is a complete success because provisions mentioned in the Act will not reach the beneficiaries properly. The benefit will be given for other people. Increasing cases of black market are read out in our daily newspapers. Many people covered under the scheme of antyodaya annayodaya is yet struggling for food while the act provides to them about 35 kilograms of food at subsidized rate. This shows the ineffective implementation of the Act. The Act could not meet the expectations raised by it in complete sense. India may be able to alleviate poverty if the act is implemented in its strict sense. National Food Security Act is an effort to reduce poverty and to maintain a healthy population.

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Read the Act: The National Food Security Act, 2013