National Food Security Bill approved

Published: Monday 26 August 2013


The most controversial aspect of the food security law is the restructuring of the public distribution system to cover an unprecedented 67 per cent of the population, most of them in the poorer states. LATHA JISHNU, JYOTIKA SOOD and SUCHITRA M explain why there are winners and losers in the new dispensation and how states with better PDS will have to find huge resources to keep their numbers intact
Author: Latha Jishnu, Jyotika Sood, Suchitra M
First, the mind-blowing figure: 813,373,000 or 813 million to round it off. That is two-thirds of this populous country and the number of people who will be covered by the National Food Security Act once the government pushes it through Rajya Sabha after its victory in Lok Sabha on August 26.
Development economist JEAN DREZE, known for his work on issues such as hunger, famine, social and human development in India, child health and education is not particularly happy with the way the National Food Security Bill has turned out. Although the proposed law has changed dramatically from the time Dreze pushed it during his days at the National Advisory Council, he is campaigning actively for its passage. Currently, visiting professor at Allahabad University, Dreze tells Down To Earth why it is important. Excerpts:
The Cabinet on July 3 approved the proposal to promulgate an ordinance on the National Food Security Bill (NFSB) 2011. The NFSB aims to guarantee food and nutritional security by providing certain minimum foodgrains at subsidised rate of Rs 1-3 per kilogram to close to 75 per cent of the rural population and 50 per cent of the urban population. It would also provide cash to beneficiaries in case the state failed to provide food. However, several challenges remain in the formulation and implementation of this ambitious piece of legislation before it can benefit India‚s teeming hungry millions. Down To Earth takes a look at some pressing questions regarding the Food Security Bill and what needs to be done to tackle India‚s growing food insecurity
Author: Jitendra , Ravi Bajpai
Parliamentarians object to provisions in proposed legislation
Author: Jitendra
The Bill, originally drafted by the National Advisory Council, saw several changes and got diluted over the past three years
Author: Jyotika Sood
In 2009 when Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) came to power for a second term, it had a key agenda–a legislation to ensure food security. Work on this legislation formally started in 2010. On July 14, 2010, the National Advisory Council (NAC) that functions under the leadership of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi constituted a working group to draft the National Food Security Bill.
Food supplies minister K V Thomas assures foodgrain allocation to states would not be reduced
Author: Jitendra
The Lok Sabha on Monday night passed the landmark National Food Security Bill. After nine hours of discussions and 319 amendments proposed by members of Parliament, the lower house voted in favour of the Bill. Brief speeches from major political parties and a voice vote preceded the passing of the Bill. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supported the Bill with its leader Sushma Swaraj saying: “we support the current Bill and wait to strengthen it when we come to power.”
An estimate of the population that will benefit from the food programme
Author: Jitendra
The annual requirement of foodgrains for implementing the food security Bill is estimated at 61.43 million tonnes. The table below indicates what percentage of the population in each state would be covered under the food security law. The Planning Commission has estimated the state-wise percentage coverage based on the National Sample Survey Office's (NSSO) consumption expenditure survey data for 2011-12. The benficiaries will be identified by the respective states.
The ordinance, if signed by the President, will come into immediate effect
Author: Jitendra
After it failed to achieve a consensus with parties of the Opposition, the cabinet has, on July 3, finally chosen the ordinance route to implement the National Food Security Bill (NFSB) 2011. The move is a big win for the UPA government ahead of the 2014 elections.

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