25 states, UTs roll out food security law

Monday, Dec 28, 2015,19:56 IST By metrovaartha A A A

New Delhi | The Centre today said 25 states and union territories have so far rolled out the ambitious food law and is making efforts to ensure remaining 11 states also implement the Act at the earliest.
At present, over 11 crore households consisting of 53 crore beneficiaries are being allocated highly subsidised foodgrains under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) at Rs 2 per kg wheat and Rs 3 per kg rice, it said.
Computerisation and use of technological device at ration shops to authenticate beneficiaries has helped delete 61.43 lakh bogus, duplicate or ineligible ration cards in last two years, thus stopping diversion and misuse of foodgrains in the PDS system amounting to about Rs 4,200 crore, it added.
Now, 25 states/UTs have started implementing NFSA. The government is making all efforts to ensure that remaining states also start implementing the Act at earliest, the Food Ministry said in a statement.
The NFSA came into force in July 2013. In the first ten months, 11 states/UTs had started implementation covering about 7 crore households, while 14 more states rolled out NFSA in the last six months, the ministry said. Implementation in some of the states was started hurriedly without completing all the requisite preparations. Consequently problems were faced.
Uttarakhand had to roll back the implementation and Bihar also faced initial problems in distribution, it added. Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Meghalaya, Jammu & Kashmir, Andaman & Nicobar, Gujarat, Kerala, Arunachal Pradesh are among 11 states which are yet to implement the Act. In the statement, the Centre said 17 states/UTs gain in terms of quantity of foodgrains allocation under the food law compared to previous PDS system.
However, a provision has been made for remaining states to protect their average annual offtake of foodgrains. For successful implementation of the Act, the government said stress is being laid on end-to-end computerisation for which states are being technically and financially assisted.
The beneficiary database has been digitised in 33 states/ UTs, wherein, information is available right up to beneficiary level and is in the public domain. Online allocation of foodgrains in being done in 17 states /UTs, and the entire foodgrain supply chain has been computerised in nine states/UTs.
All States have set up grievance redressal systems, it added. To ensure leakage-free distribution of foodgrains, food subsidy is being tranferred in cash into the bank account of beneficiaries in Chandigarh and Puducherry on a pilot basis.
That apart, a fair price shops are being automated for distribution of foodgrains through a point of sale (PoS) device which authenticates beneficiaries at the time of distribution and also electronically captures the quantum of foodgrains distributed to the family. At present PoS devices are operational in about 59,500 shops, it added.