Published on: December 24, 2022

National Food Security Act

National Food Security Act

Why in news? The Union Cabinet decided to provide free foodgrains to all 81 crore beneficiaries covered under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) for one year.


  • Previously, beneficiary families which used to pay Rs1 for coarse cereals, Rs2 for wheat and Rs3 for rice per kilogram
  • Now get 35 kg of foodgrains a month free of cost for the next one year, and others will get five kilogram free each month till 2023
  • The entire expenses of the scheme would be borne by the Centre.
  • Prime Minister Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) ensured five kg of foodgrains for free for the poor during pandemic

The National Food Security Act 2013 ( ‘Right to Food Act’)

  • It is an Indian Act of Parliament aims to provide subsidized food grains to approximately two thirds of the country’s 1.2 billion people
  • Converts into legal entitlements for existing food security programmes of the Government of India.
  • Includes the Midday Meal Scheme, Integrated Child Development Services scheme and the Public Distribution System and recognizes maternity entitlements.
  • The Midday Meal Scheme and Integrated Child Development Services Scheme are universal in nature
  • PDS will reach about two-thirds of the population (75% in rural areas and 50% in urban areas).
  • Beneficiaries of PDS are entitled to 5 kilograms (11 lb) per person per month of cereals at the following prices:
  • Rice at Rs3 per kg
  • Wheat at Rs2 per kg
  • Coarse grains (millet) at Rs1 per kg.
  • Pregnant women, lactating mothers, and certain categories of children are eligible for daily free cereals.

Salient features

  • Coverage and entitlement under Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) : Up to 56% of the rural population and 64.43% of the urban population
  • TPDS : Uniform of 5 kg per person per month.
  • Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) households (poorest of the poor) : 35 kg per household per month
  • State-wise coverage : Coverage of 75% and 50% in the rural and urban areas
  • Subsidised prices under TPDS and their revision : Foodgrains under TPDS will be made available at subsidised prices of Rs. 3/2/1 per kg for rice, wheat and coarse grains for a period of three years
  • Identification of Households: Identification of eligible households done by States/UTs.
  • Nutritional Support to women and children : Pregnant women and lactating mothers and children (6 months to 14 years) will be entitled to meals as per prescribed nutritional norms under Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and Mid-Day Meal (MDM) schemes
  • Maternity Benefit : Pregnant women and lactating mothers receive of not less than Rs. 6,000.
  • Women Empowerment: Eldest woman of the household of age 18 years or above to be the head of the household for the purpose of issuing of ration cards.
  • Grievance Redressal Mechanism : At the District and State levels.
  • Cost of intra-State transportation & handling of foodgrains and FPS Dealers’ margin : Central Government will provide assistance to States,
  • Transparency and Accountability : Provisions have been made for disclosure of records relating to PDS, social audits and setting up of Vigilance Committees in order to ensure transparency and accountability.
  • Food Security Allowance : Entitled beneficiaries in case of non-supply of entitled foodgrains or meals.
  • Penalty : Provision for penalty on public servant or authority, to be imposed by the State Food Commission, in case of failure to comply with the relief recommended by the District Grievance Redressal Officer.

About Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana

  • It is a food security welfare scheme announced by the Government of India on March 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Operated: Department of Food and Public Distribution under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.
  • Nodal ministry : Ministry of Finance.
  • It aims to feed the poorest citizens of India through PDS, to all the priority households (ration card holders and those identified by the Antyodaya Anna Yojana scheme).
  • Provides 5 kg of rice or wheat (according to regional dietary preferences) per person and 1 kg of dal to each family holding a ration card.
  • The scale makes it the largest food security program in the world