What are the salient features of the National Food Security Act, 2013 ? How has the Food Security Bill helped in eliminating hunger and malnutrition in India? UPSC 2021, 15 Marks

Q13. राष्ट्रीय खाद्य सुरक्षा अधिनियम; 2013 की मुख्य/विशेषताएँ क्या हैं ? खाद्य सुरक्षा विधेयक ने भारत में भूख तथा कुपोषण को दूर करने में किस प्रकरिर सहायता की है ? ( 250 शब्दों में उत्तर दीजिए) ?

Q13. What are the salient features of the National Food Security Act, 2013 ? How has the Food Security Bill helped in eliminating hunger and malnutrition in India? (Answer in 250 words) 15

Answer:

The National Food Security Act of 2013 (also known as the ‘Right to Food Act’) is an Indian law aimed at providing subsidized food grains to around two-thirds of the country’s 1.2 billion population. It was signed into law on September 12, 2013, retroactive to 5 July 2013. The National Food Security Act of 2013 (NFSA) is a one-of-a-kind measure implemented by the Indian government to combat hunger and defend people’s food rights. The government’s care of the individual is based on the dietary requirements throughout the life cycle in the life cycle approach.

 Objective

To ensure food and nutritional security in the human life cycle by ensuring that individuals have access to enough quantities of high-quality food at affordable rates in order to live a dignified life.

Salient Features

Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS): Under the Targeted Public Distribution System, it covers roughly 75% of the rural population and up to 50% of the urban population for obtaining subsidized foodgrains (TPDS).

State-wise coverage: Using data from the NSS Household Consumption Survey for 2011-12, the Planning Commission calculated state-by-state coverage and gave “inclusion ratios” for each state.

Subsidized prices under TPDS and their revision: Rice, wheat, and coarse grains will be accessible at subsidized prices of Rs. 3/2/1 per kg under the TPDS for a period of three years from the date of the Act’s commencement. Following that, prices will be appropriately tied to the Minimum Support Price (MSP).

Identification of Households: States/UTs are responsible for identifying eligible families within the scope of the TPDS coverage specified for each State.

Nutritional support to women and children: Under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and Mid-Day Meal (MDM) programmes, pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and children aged 6 months to 14 years would be entitled to meals that meet nutritional guidelines. Malnourished children up to the age of six have been prescribed higher nutritional standards.

 

Maternity Benefit: Pregnant women and nursing mothers will be eligible for a maternity bonus of at least Rs. 6,000.

 

Women Empowerment: For the purposes of issuing ration cards, the head of the family must be the oldest woman in the home who is at least 18 years old.

 

Food Security Allowance: Provision for a food security allowance for eligible recipients in the event that they are unable to obtain their foodgrains or meals.

 

Transparency and Accountability: To guarantee transparency and accountability, provisions have been implemented for the disclosure of PDS records, social audits, and the formation of Vigilance Committees.

 

Penalty: In the event that a public worker or authority fails to comply with the remedies proposed by the District Grievance Redressal Officer, the State Food Commission may impose a penalty.

 

Hunger and Malnutrition

India has slipped to 101st place out of 116 countries in the Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2021, down from 94th place in 2020. With a score of 27.5, India falls into the serious category for hunger. This has pushed the urgency and necessity for improvements in India’s dietary strategy to the fore.

Nutrition encompasses more than simply food; it also includes factors such as economics, health, water, sanitation, gender perspectives, and social standards. As a result, proper implementation of other programmes can also help improve nutrition.

The convergence of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Jal Jeevan Mission, and nutrition-related programmes will result in a comprehensive shift in India’s nutrition situation.

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