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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

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 Aayog

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

22,81,49,892Cases
19,07,93,163Active
3,26,71,167Recovered
46,85,562Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 22,81,49,892 and 46,85,562 have died; 19,07,93,163 are active cases and 3,26,71,167 have recovered as on September 19, 2021 at 3:52 am.

India

3,34,48,163 30,773Cases
3,32,1588,481Active
3,26,71,167 38,945Recovered
4,44,838 309Deaths
In India, there are 3,34,48,163 confirmed cases including 4,44,838 deaths. The number of active cases is 3,32,158 and 3,26,71,167 have recovered as on September 19, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

65,18,502 3,391

51,472 530

63,28,561 3,841

1,38,469 80

Kerala

44,88,813 19,325

1,81,411 8,084

42,83,963 27,266

23,439 143

Karnataka

29,67,083 889

15,783 205

29,13,713 1,080

37,587 14

Tamil Nadu

26,43,683 1,653

16,893 50

25,91,480 1,581

35,310 22

Andhra Pradesh

20,37,353 1,174

14,653 144

20,08,639 1,309

14,061 9

Uttar Pradesh

17,09,652 9

193 2

16,86,572 7

22,887

West Bengal

15,61,014 728

7,967 41

15,34,406 757

18,641 12

Delhi

14,38,469 41

404 3

14,12,980 44

25,085

Odisha

10,19,621 695

5,929 689

10,05,564

8,128 6

Chhattisgarh

10,05,042 28

332 14

9,91,150 42

13,560

Rajasthan

9,54,246 8

102 2

9,45,190 10

8,954

Gujarat

8,25,715 13

143 11

8,15,490 24

10,082

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,386 6

97 12

7,81,772 18

10,517

Haryana

7,70,711 6

323 0

7,60,580 6

9,808

Bihar

7,25,881 10

65 0

7,16,158 10

9,658

Telangana

6,63,281 255

5,148 75

6,54,230 329

3,903 1

Punjab

6,01,236 30

316 7

5,84,453 23

16,467

Assam

5,97,709 365

5,063 102

5,86,856 465

5,790 2

Jharkhand

3,48,114 3

74 20

3,42,907 23

5,133

Uttarakhand

3,43,376 21

282 0

3,35,704 20

7,390 1

Jammu And Kashmir

3,27,773 152

1,479 39

3,21,878 113

4,416

Himachal Pradesh

2,16,813 174

1,610 30

2,11,554 142

3,649 2

Goa

1,75,414 123

771 40

1,71,351 81

3,292 2

Puducherry

1,25,384 128

924 5

1,22,631 122

1,829 1

Manipur

1,18,261 140

2,180 92

1,14,251 228

1,830 4

Tripura

83,840 31

367 37

82,665 67

808 1

Meghalaya

79,325 119

1,876 76

76,075 192

1,374 3

Mizoram

79,171 1,104

14,456 161

64,456 938

259 5

Chandigarh

65,176 4

35 1

64,323 3

818

Arunachal Pradesh

54,060 32

461 44

53,328 76

271

Sikkim

30,893 54

728 28

29,786 82

379

Nagaland

30,840 60

491 20

29,696 39

653 1

Ladakh

20,702

109 0

20,386

207

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,670

1 4

10,665 4

4

Lakshadweep

10,356

6 1

10,299 1

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,598 2

14 0

7,455 2

129

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