With Kerala, Tamil Nadu on board, Food Act gets pan-India coverage
New Delhi, Nov 3 (IANS) The Centre on Thursday said that the entire country has now come under the National Food Security Act sway as Kerala and Tamil Nadu too have come on board.
“The Centre will now focus on further reforms in the Public Distribution System, which will include end-to-end computerisation, for which states and union territories are being assisted,” Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan told reporters here.
This will help bring in transparency in public distribution system (PDS) functioning, a vital feature of the NFSA, he said.
The implementation of the act, initially brought by the earlier Congress-led government, covers about 80 crore people across 36 states and union territories and entails an annual subsidy of over Rs 1.4 lakh crore.
“When we came to power in May 2014, the food law was implemented in only 11 states. The law has now been implemented in all states and union territories,” Paswan said.
Kerala and Tamil Nadu, which had stayed away from the NFSA so far, will implement it from November 2016.
“The legal entitlement to receive highly subsidised food grain under the act now extends to about 80 crore persons against a total intended coverage of 81.34 crore persons under the act,” Paswan said.
He said the government has taken a number of steps to improve PDS functioning and plug leaks.
The minister said 71 per cent of the ration cards have been linked with Aadhaar card till date, resulting in cancellation of about 2.62 crore ration cards across all states.
Under the NFSA, passed by parliament in 2013, the government provides five kg of food grain per person per month at a highly subsidised rate of Rs 1-3 per kg.
On the subsidy outgo, Paswan said: “It will be Rs 11,726 crore per month or about Rs 1,40,700 crore annually.”