Budget 2023-24: Food security in just name as Centre slashes funds by 32%

Allocation of about Rs 2 lakh crore for National Food Security Act compared to Rs 2.8 lakh crore last year

By Himanshu Nitnaware
Published: Thursday 02 February 2023
The reduction in funds is for the second consecutive year post-COVID-19, which witnessed a reduction to Rs 2,15,000 crore in 2022-23 from Rs 3,02,000 crore 2021-22. Photo: iStock__

The food subsidy to the Food Corporation of India (FCI) under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) and the subsidy for Decentralised Procurement of Foodgrains scheme under NFSA saw a drop of over 30 per cent in the fund allocation for the next financial year.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Union Budget 2023-24 on February 1, 2023.

The central government announced an allocation of Rs 1,97,350 crore against the Rs 2,06,831 crore allocated during the financial year 2022-23, a drop of over 32 per cent or Rs 89,000 crore compared to the previous year.

Read more: Budget 2023-24: Agriculture ignored, schemes for ensuring MSP-based procurement nearly ‘closed down’

Sitharaman, however, announced that the food distribution scheme would continue despite the drop in fund allocation.

The FM, during her Budget presentation, said:

During the Covid-19 pandemic, we ensured that no one went to bed hungry with a scheme to supply free food grains to over 80 crore people for 28 months. Continuing our commitment to provide food and nutritional security, we are implementing, from January 1, 2023, a scheme to supply free food grain to all Antyodaya and priority households for the next year, under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY).

The minister said that the entire expenditure would cost about Rs 2 lakh crore and would be incurred by the central government.

However, an activist working for Right To Food and other social causes for the socially and economically backward sections claimed the FM’s announcement was a “scam”.

“The central government had already reduced the food grains supply under the NFSA from 10 kilogrammes to five kgs. After reducing the supply by half, the finance minister is claiming the scheme for free food distribution would be extended for a year,” Nikhil Dey said.

Announcing the extension after cutting down the food grain supply is “making a fool of everyone else” and pretending that the government is concerned about the welfare of the poor, Dey added.

Read more:

Subscribe to Daily Newsletter :
Related Stories

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.