NITI Aayog Suggests Policy Measures To Ensure Subsidised Foodgrains Supply To Needy

NITI Aayog Suggests Policy Measures To Ensure Subsidised Foodgrains Supply To Needy

National Food Security Act 2013 provides for the supply of subsidised foodgrains through ration shops to up to 75 per cent of the rural population and up to 50 per cent of the urban population, which as per Census 2011, comes to a maximum of 81.35 crore persons
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The food ministry told us that states are asking to enhance the allocation of foodgrains because the population has increased in all the states: NITI AayogThe food ministry told us that states are asking to enhance the allocation of foodgrains because the population has increased in all the states: NITI Aayog
Highlights
  • NFSA is operational in all states and Union Territories
  • NFSA caters to 67 per cent of the total population: Centre
  • Foodgrains via ration shops are supplied at highly subsidised rates

New Delhi: NITI Aayog has suggested policy measures to the food ministry that envisages various scenarios to ensure supply of subsidised foodgrains to the needy without “pinching” the union government’s fiscal resources, according to a senior official. The scenarios, that have been constructed keeping in mind the National Food Security Act, 2013, have been made after the ministry had sought the advice of NITI Aayog amid increasing demand for subsidised foodgrains in certain states in view of rising population.

Also Read: Opinion: Supportive Supervision Can Provide A Methodological Shift For Ensuring The Quality Nutrition Services

The food ministry told us that states are asking to enhance the allocation of foodgrains because the population has increased in all the states. The concern the ministry raised was that the food subsidy is rising at a very rapid rate. So, what kind of policy measure we should think (about), so that this food subsidy bill remains affordable. It does not become pinching on our fiscal resources, NITI Aayog Member (Agriculture) Ramesh Chand told PTI.

He, however, added that the Food Ministry did not say that it wants to reduce the coverage of subsidised foodgrains under the National Food Security Act 2013. NFSA, passed in 2013, provides for the supply of subsidised foodgrains through ration shops to up to 75 per cent of the rural population and up to 50 per cent of the urban population, which as per Census 2011, comes to a maximum of 81.35 crore persons.

At present, NFSA is operational in a seamless manner in all states and Union Territories, with an intended coverage of 81.35 crore persons across the country. Overall, NFSA caters to 67 per cent of the total population.

So, Niti Aayog as a think tank just constructed different scenarios… Ok, one scenario is you continue with 2/3 (subsidised foodgrains to 67 per cent population). “If you feel that between 2013 and now 2021, per capita income of people has increased by 40-50 per cent, then obviously the economic condition of many people have improved. So, we just looked at it from that angle, Mr. Chand noted.

Coverage under the Act is provided under two categories — Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) households to the extent specified by the central government and the remaining households as Priority Households. The AAY households are entitled to 35 kg of foodgrains per household per month, while Priority Households are entitled to 5 kg of foodgrains per person per month at Rs 1-3 per kg through ration shops.

According to the NITI Aayog member, the second scenario is that, if it (coverage of people under NFSA) is brought down, then what will be its implication.

So, it was an exercise done like that. Not that we made any recommendation, Mr. Chand asserted.

He said that even in the meeting, the Chief Economic Adviser (CEA) Arvind Subramanian had suggested that whatever scenario the NITI Aayog is proposing, the Aayog should also give a rationale that why this scenario should be adopted.

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The CEA said if this scenario, which you are building… please give a strong argument that what should be the rationale, what should be the norm which we did not touch as yet. We may touch it in future, Mr. Chand explained.

According to the latest government data, food subsidy rose sharply to Rs. 4,22,618.14 crore in the RE of 2020-21 from Rs. 1,15,569.68 crore in the BE. For the next fiscal, food subsidy is estimated at Rs. 2,42,836 crore. The NITI Aayog Member pointed out that if one has to link coverage of population under NFSA to poverty, major changes will be required based on what is the current state of poverty.

Asked to comment on the Economic Survey 2021 suggestion that the government should increase the selling price of foodgrains provided through ration shops, Mr. Chand said that between 2013 and 2021, minimum support prices (MSP) on several crops have increased, even doubled in some cases.

You know that the value of Rs. 2 is not the same as what it was in 2013. In 8 years, what was Rs. 2 has become Rs. 5 or Rs. 6. … when we have adequate data by states on the required parameter and some sort of data like Socio Economic Caste Census (SECC) which is updated then from our side we will give final touches to this exercise, he opined.

Foodgrains via ration shops are supplied at highly subsidised rates of Rs. 3 per kg for rice, Rs. 2 per kg for wheat and Rs. 1 per kg for coarse grains through Public Distribution System (PDS) as per NFSA.

While it is difficult to reduce the economic cost of food management in view of rising commitment towards food security, there is a need to consider the revision of central issue price (CIP) to reduce the bulging food subsidy bill, the survey had said.

Wheat and rice prices have not been revised since the introduction of the Act in 2013, although the economic cost has increased every year.

Also Read: United Nations Report Says 17% Of Food Wasted At Consumer Level

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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World

17,91,56,496Cases
5,81,68,051Active
11,71,06,212Recovered
38,82,233Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 193 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 17,91,56,496 and 38,82,233 have died; 5,81,68,051 are active cases and 11,71,06,212 have recovered as on June 23, 2021 at 3:45 am.

India

3,00,28,709 50,848Cases
6,43,19419,327Active
2,89,94,855 68,817Recovered
3,90,660 1,358Deaths
In India, there are 3,00,28,709 confirmed cases including 3,90,660 deaths. The number of active cases is 6,43,194 and 2,89,94,855 have recovered as on June 23, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

59,87,521 8,470

1,26,468 1,055

57,42,258 9,043

1,18,795 482

Kerala

28,29,460 12,617

1,00,881 746

27,16,284 11,730

12,295 141

Karnataka

28,15,029 3,709

1,18,615 4,541

26,62,250 8,111

34,164 139

Tamil Nadu

24,36,819 6,895

56,886 4,443

23,48,353 11,144

31,580 194

Andhra Pradesh

18,57,352 4,169

53,880 4,260

17,91,056 8,376

12,416 53

Uttar Pradesh

17,04,678 202

3,910 253

16,78,486 397

22,282 58

West Bengal

14,85,438 1,852

22,508 232

14,45,493 2,037

17,437 47

Delhi

14,32,778 397

1,918 78

14,05,927 467

24,933 8

Chhattisgarh

9,91,653 482

8,007 557

9,70,244 1,032

13,402 7

Rajasthan

9,51,393 137

2,388 303

9,40,101 437

8,904 3

Odisha

8,83,490 2,957

30,859 1,240

8,48,960 4,159

3,671 38

Gujarat

8,22,620 135

5,159 480

8,07,424 612

10,037 3

Madhya Pradesh

7,89,415 65

1,707 273

7,78,902 318

8,806 20

Haryana

7,67,726 146

2,200 137

7,56,231 263

9,295 20

Bihar

7,20,207 268

2,811 206

7,07,833 468

9,563 6

Telangana

6,15,574 1,175

16,640 606

5,95,348 1,771

3,586 10

Punjab

5,93,063 405

5,968 509

5,71,207 880

15,888 34

Assam

4,88,179 2,869

32,975 350

4,50,924 2,482

4,280 37

Jharkhand

3,44,775 110

1,417 72

3,38,256 180

5,102 2

Uttarakhand

3,38,978 171

2,896 68

3,29,030 231

7,052 8

Jammu And Kashmir

3,12,584 428

7,181 578

3,01,134 999

4,269 7

Himachal Pradesh

2,00,791 188

2,276 132

1,95,062 315

3,453 5

Goa

1,64,957 303

2,920 146

1,59,029 438

3,008 11

Puducherry

1,15,364 284

3,214 150

1,10,423 433

1,727 1

Manipur

64,993 575

9,214 84

54,714 649

1,065 10

Tripura

63,140 395

3,747 163

58,735 554

658 4

Chandigarh

61,467 23

278 33

60,383 56

806

Meghalaya

45,976 421

4,273 77

40,915 341

788 3

Arunachal Pradesh

33,664 289

2,548 9

30,956 279

160 1

Nagaland

24,438 64

1,757 87

22,204 149

477 2

Ladakh

19,871 33

360 5

19,309 38

202

Sikkim

19,458 137

2,430 18

16,732 152

296 3

Mizoram

18,409 430

4,424 197

13,900 233

85

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,520 4

61 1

10,455 3

4

Lakshadweep

9,504 33

315 4

9,142 36

47 1

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,425 10

103 6

7,195 4

127

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