No proposition at present to review protection of individuals under NFSA: Food

Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey on Friday said the government has no proposition at present to revisit the coverage of people gaining from the National Food Security Act (NFSA) saying it can not be done “arbitrarily”.

Currently, NFSA supplies coverage for about 81 crore individuals, consisting of 67 percent of the country’s total population. Under the Act, the federal government provides highly subsidised foodgrains at Rs 1-3 per kg to the beneficiaries Nevertheless, the 2015 Shanta Kumar Report on FCI Restructuring and later on the Financial Survey 2019-20 had actually suggested to revisit the protection of people gaining from NFSA. Asked if the federal government is thinking about reviewing the protection of NFSA recipients this year, the secretary stated, “When all tools are available with the federal government, then there is a possibility of revisiting this. Right now, there is no proposal.”This workout can not be done “arbitrarily” since at present even census information is not offered with the federal government, he informed reporters after the launch of mobile App ‘Mera Ration’. Pandey stated the variety of beneficiaries, which was repaired in 2011, was based upon some criteria. It had covered 67 per cent of the population, consisting of 75 per cent rural and 50 percent metropolitan people.Whenever there would be any modification in protection of individuals, there will initially be a workout and data analysis, he stated noting, “It (NFSA) is a law gone by Parliament. The government and Parliament at that time will have to take a call.”On the development made in the implementation of provision card mobility service ‘One Country One Provision Card (ONORC) to NFSA beneficiaries, the secretary stated about 32 states and Union Territories have actually executed this service up until now. Assam, Chhattisgarh, Delhi and West Bengal are expected to be integrated in the next few months.”Electronic point of sale (ePoS) makers are acquired in Delhi and West Bengal and ideally, they will start soon. In Chhattisgarh, ePoS devices are yet to be procured, while in Assam, Aadhaar seeding of provision card is still low,” he said.Under provision card mobility service, beneficiaries especially migrant beneficiaries can declare either complete or part of foodgrains privilege from any fair price shops or ration shops in the nation through existing provision card in a seamless manner. Their family members back home, if any, can likewise claim the balance foodgrains on very same provision card.According to the food ministry, regular monthly average of about 1.5-1.6 crore deals was recorded under the ONORC given that August 2019. About 69 crore beneficiaries are covered under this new facility in the country now. During the COVID-19 duration in between April 2020 and February 2021, about 15.4 crore mobility deals were performed under the ONORC that includes both inter-state and intra-state portability of ration cards.Asked the number of the total 81 crore NFSA beneficiaries would utilize the portability service, the secretary stated, “At any offered phase, more than 7-8 percent of recipients will utilize the mobility. Going by that evaluation, we have touched 1.6-1.7 crore transactions in certain months, which is a high number.”S Jagannathan, joint secretary in the food ministry, stated that during the COVID-19 lockdown period, it was tough to examine the number of migrants in the nation. At first, the rough estimate of 8 crore migrants was taken for distribution of complimentary ration however after talking with states, that figure was 2.8 crore.Therefore, ONORC and mobile app ‘Mera Provision’ are harbinger of trying to examine who is going where. “The mobile app will record details of migrants. But, this will take few years. The brand-new information will assist the country socio-economically for us to make new policies,” he added.Jagannathan also stated adequate foodgrains are offered at fair cost stores to satisfy the demand of beneficiaries availing through mobility service. The country has surplus foodgrains and no problem is faced in carrying out the provision card mobility service, he added.

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