The National Food Security Act, 2013


An Act to provide for food and nutritional security by ensuring access to adequate quantity of quality food at affordable prices to people to live a life with dignity. Some of the social impact that the Act envisages include, decrease starvation in India, women empowerment, computerization of PDS system, control increase in price of essential grains. 

Section 2 of the Act enlists key terms (anganwadi, eligible households, fair price shops, foodgrains, food security, priority households, etc.) and their definitions relevant to this Act.  

Section (1) states that Every person belonging to priority households shall be entitled to receive five kilograms of foodgrains per person per month at subsidised prices from the State Government under the Targeted Public Distribution System. Subsidised prices fixed for a period of three years from the date of commencement of this Act, are as below (as per Schedule I): 

  • Price not exceeding Rupees 3 per kg of rice, 
  • Price not exceeding Rupees 2 per kg of wheat, 
  • Price not exceeding Rupee 1 per kg of coarse grains  

Schedule I also states that the above prices will be revised by the Central Government (from time to time) and will not exceed minimum support price of rice, wheat and coarse grains. 

However if the households are covered under Antyodaya Anna Yojana, they will be entitled to thirty-five kilograms of foodgrains per household per month at the prices.  

Section 3 (2) states that combined coverage of Priority and Antyodaya households (also called eligible households) shall extend up to 75 percent of the rural population and up to 50 percent of urban population.  

Section 4 states that every pregnant woman and lactating mother shall be entitled to free of charge meal during pregnancy and six months after the child birth, through the local addition to maternity benefit of not less than rupees 6000. However, if the pregnant women and lactating mothers is in regular employment with the Central Government or State Governments or Public Sector Undertakings or those who are in receipt of similar benefits under any law shall not be entitled to benefits. 

Section 5 states that children in the age group of six months to six years, are entitled to appropriate meal, free of charge, through the local anganwadiWhile children up to class VIII or within the age group of six to fourteen years, one mid-day meal, free of charge, (everyday, except on school holidays), in all schools run by local bodies, Government and Government aided schools will be provided, so as to meet the nutritional standards. 

Section 6 ensures provision of meals, free of charge to children identified as suffering from malnutrition. 

Section 8 states that in case of non-supply of the entitled quantities of foodgrains or meals to entitled people, they will be entitled to receive food security allowance from the concerned State Government to be paid to each person. 

Section 9 and 10 states the process of identifying the eligible households under the provisions of this Act. While Section 11 of the Act, mandates listing of identified eligible households in the public domain by the State Government. 

Section 12 enlists some of the reforms that are envisaged in the Targeted PDS. The reforms include doorstep delivery of foodgrains to TPDS outlets, computerisation of TPDS system, use of Aadhaar for unique identification of beneficiaries, full transparency of records, diversification of commodities distributed under the PDS, introducing schemes such as cash transfers, food coupons, etc. 

Section 13 states that the eldest woman who is not less than eighteen years of age, in every eligible household, shall be head of the household for the purpose of issue of ration cards. 

However, if a household does not have a woman of eighteen years of age or above, but has a female member below the age of eighteen years, then, the eldest male member of the household shall be the head of the household for the purpose of issue of ration card and the female member, on attaining the age of eighteen years, shall become the head of the household for such ration cards in place of such male member. 

Section 14 mandates that every State Government shall put in place an internal grievance redressal mechanism which may include call centres, help lines, designation of nodal officers, or other suitable 

Mechanisms. As per Section 15, a District Grievance Redressal Officer should be appointed for effective redressal of grievances in matters related to distribution of entitled foodgrains. 

Section 22-24 enlists the duties and mandatory obligations of the State and Central Governments to ensure entitlements reach the identified eligible households.  

Section 27 states that all Targeted Public Distribution System related records shall be placed in the public domain and kept open for inspection to the public, in such manner as may be prescribed by the State Government. 

Section 29 mandates setting up of Vigilance Committees [as specified in the Public Distribution System (Control) Order, 2001] at all levels of administration to ensure transparency and propoer functioning of the TPDS. One of the objective of the Vigilance Committee is to ensure that due representation is given to the local authorities, Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, women, persons with disabilities. 

Section 30 states that special focus should be given to the needs of vulnerable groups especially in remote / tribal areas, by the State and Central Government, while implementing the provision of this Act.  

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