Friday, 6 January 2012

*Salient features of National Food Security Bill, 2011*

*Salient features  of National Food Security Bill,  2011*

National Food Security Bill,2011 has been tabled   in Parliament  by Shri L
K. V. Thomas, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution
on 19.12.2011. The mandate of the Bill is to provide  for food  and
nutritional security  in human life cycle approach, by ensuring  access to
adequate quantity of quality food at affordable  prices to people to live a
life with dignity  and for matters  connected  therewith. The Salient
features of the Bill is as follows.

1.       The Bill has  15 chapters with 52 sections.

*2.       **Important Definitions *

a.       “Destitute Person” means  men, women or  children who have no
resources, means and support required for food and nutrition enabling their
survival, to the extent that makes them vulnerable to live with or die of

b.      “Senior Citizen” means a person defined as such under clause (h) of
section 2 of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens

c.       “Social Audit”  means the process in which people collectively
monitor and evaluate the planning and implementation of a programme or

d.      “Starvation”  means prolonged involuntary deprivation of food that
threatens  survival of the person.

*3.       **Right to receive foodgrains at subsidized prices by persons
belonging to priority households and general households under TPDS *

Every person belonging  to priority households  and general households  which
will be identified  by the Govt.  shall be  entitled  to receive  every
month  under targeted Public Distribution System , seven kilograms of
foodgrains per person per month  for priority households and not less than
three kilograms of foodgrains  per person  per month for general households
at subisdised prices.  The entitlements  at subsidised prices shall extend
up to seventy-five percent of the rural population  and up to fifty percent
of the urban population. But   not less than  forty-six percent of the rural
and twenty-eight percent of the urban population shall be designated  as
priority households. *( section-3)*

*4.       **Nutritional Support to pregnant women  and lactating mothers *

Every pregnant woman and lactating mothers  shall be entitled  to meal,
free of charge, during pregnancy  and six months  after the child birth ,
through local anganwadi, so as to meet  the nutritional standards  specified
in Schedule 11. They shall aslo be entitled  maternity benefit of rupees
one thousand  per month for a period of six months in accordance with a
scheme, including cost sharing, payable in such instalments as may  be
prescribed by the Central Government. *( section-4)*

*5.       **Nutritional support to Children *

Every child up to the age of fourteen years shall  be entitled to get the
following entitlements for his nutritional needs.

a.       In case of children in the age group of six months  to six years,
age appropriate meal, free of charge , through the local anganwadi so as to
meet the nutritional standards.

b.      In the case of children in the age group of six  to fourteen  years,
one mid-day meal , free of charge , every day  except on school holidays  in
all schools  run by local bodies , Govt and Govt  aided schools, up to
class VIII, so as to meet  their  nutritional standard.

c.       Every school  and Anganwadi shall have facilities  for cooking
meals, drinking water and sanitation. But in urban areas, facilities of
centralised kitchens for cooking meals may be used as per guideline issued
by Central Govt.  *(section-5)*

*6.       **Prevention and Management of Child Malnutrition *

The State Govt.  shall, through the local Anganwadi, identify and provide
meals, free of charge, to the children who suffer from malnutrition, so as
to meet the nutritional standards specified in Schedule II*.  ( section-6)*

*7.       **Entitlements of Special Groups *

The special groups  consistsing of all destitiute persons or homeless
persons shall  have the following entitlements.

a.       All destitute persons shall be entitled  to at least one meal
every day, free of charge , in accordance with such scheme, including cost
sharing , as may be prescribed  by the Central Govt.

b.      All homeless opersons shall be entitled to affordable meals at
community kitchens in accordance with such scheme, including cost sharing ,
as may be prescribed  by the Central Govt.

c.       The persons in receipt of similar benefits under any otrher
schemes of Central Govt.  or State Govt. shall not be entitled  to get
abovementioned  benefits.

d.      The migrants and their families shall be able to claim  their
entitlements  under this Act, at the place where they currently reside. *(
section-8) *

*8.       **Emergency and disaster affected persons*

The State Govt. shall , it it is of the opinion  that an emergency or
disaster  situation exists , provide to  affected households , two meals ,
free of charge for a period  up to 3 months  for the date of disaster  in
accordance with such schemes  including cost sharing   as may be prescribed
by the Central Government.  *(section-9) *

* *

*9.       **Persons living in starvation *

a.       The State Govt. shall identify persons, households, groups or
communities living in starvation or conditions akin to starvation.

b.      All persons , households, groups or communities identified living
in starvation shall be provided  meals  two times  a day, free of charge,
in accordance with a scheme, including  cost sharing  as may be prescribed  by
Central Govt.  for six months  from the date of identification.

c.       Every State Govt.  shall prepare and notify  guidelines  for
prevention, identification  and relief  to cases of starvation.  *(

*10.   **Right to receive food security allowances in certain cases. *

In case of non-supply of  the entitled  quantities  of food grains or meals
to entitled  persons  as mentioned above, such persons shall be entitled  to
receive  such food security allowance from the concerned State Govt.  to be
paid to each persons within such time  and manner  as may be prescribed by
the Central Govt.  *(section-13)*

*11.   **Identification of Priority Households and General Households*

a.       At the all India level, the percentage coverage of overall rural
and urban population under the priority and general households, for the
purposes of providing subsidized foodgrains under TPDS shall be determined
by Central Govt.

*b.      * The State-wise  distribution  shall, from time to time, be
determined  by the Central Govt*.  ( section-14) *

*12.   **Guideline for identification of Priority households and general

a.       The Central Government may, from  time to time, prescribe  the
guidelines  for identification  of priority households , general households
and exclusion criteria , for  the purposes of their entitlement under this
Act. *( section- 15)*

b.      The list of  the identified  priority  households and general
households  shall be  placed  by the State Govt. in a public  domain and
displayed prominently.  *( section-16)*

* *

*13.   **Reforms  in Targeted PDS *

The Central Govt. and State Govt. shall  endeavour  to progressively
undertake  necessary reforms  in TPDS  as follows.

a.       Doorstep delivery  of foodgrains  to  the TPDS outlets

b.      Application of information and communication technology tools
including end-to-end computerization in order to ensure transparent
recording of transactions at all levels.

c.       Leveraging “aadhar” for unique identification, with biometric
information of entitled beneficiaries for proper targeting of benefits
under this Act.

d.      Full transparency of records.

e.      Preference to public institutions or public bodies such as
Panchayats, self help groups, cooperatives, in licensing of fair price
shops and management of fair price shops by women or their collectives.

f.        Support to local public distribution models and grain banks.

g.       Introducing schemes such as cash transfers, food coupons or other
schemes to the targeted beneficiaries in lieu of their food entitlements.  *

*14.   **Women of eighteen years of age or above to be head of household
for purpose of issue of ration card. *

a.       The eldest woman who is not less than eighteen years of age shall
be head of the household for the purpose of issue of ration card.

*b.      *Where a household  does not have woman  or a woman of  eighteen
years of age or above, but has a female member  below the age of eighteen
years , the eldest male member of the household shall be head of the
household  for the purpose of issue of ration card and the female member on
attaining age of eighteen years  shall become the head of the household  for
such card  in place of  such male  member*.  ( section-19) *

*15.   **Grievance Redressal Mechanism *

a.       The Central Govt. and the State Govt. shall put in place an
internal grievance redressal mechanism like call centres, help lines,
designation of nodal officers, or other mechanism may be prescribed.

b.      For effective redressal of grievances of the aggrieved persons in
matters relating to distribution of entitled food-grains or meals under
PDS, MDM, ICDS, for special groups, disaster-affected persons etc., a
district grievance redressal officer shall be appointed by State Govt. for
each district to enforce these entitlements and investigate and redress
grievances.  *( section-21)*

*16.   **State Food Commission *

a.       Every State Govt. shall constitute a State Food Commission  for
the purpose of monitoring  and review  of  implementation of the Act.

b.      State Commission shall constitute of Chairman, other five members
and Member-secretary.  There shall be at least two women, one person   from
Scheduled Caste and one person from Scheduled Tribe.

c.       The  Chairperson, other Members and Member-Secretary shall be
appointed  from amongst persons  (1) who are  or  have  members of All
India services or any other Civil Services of the Union or state  or
holding a civil post  having knowledge  and  experience  in matters
relating  to  food security, policy making and administration  in the field
of agriculture, civil supplies , nutrition and health etc. , (2)  of
eminence in public  life with wide  knowledge  and experience   in
agriculture, law, human rights, social service, management, nutrition,
health, food policy or public administration, (3)  who  have a proven
record  of work relating  to  the improvement of the food and nutrition  rights
of the poor.

d.      The Chairperson  or  other persons shall hold officer  for a term
not exceeding  five years.  The age limit  is   sixty-five years*.

*17.   * *Functions of State Food Commission *

(1)    The State Commission shall undertake the  following functions.

a.       Monitor and evaluate  the implementation of  the Act

b.      Either suo moto or on receipt of complaint inquire  into violations
of entitlements provided  in different sections of the Act.

c.       Issue guidelines to the State Govt.  in consonance with the
guidelines  of the National Commission.

d.      Give advice  to the State Govt., their agencies, autonomous bodies
as well as non-government organizations  involved in delivery of relevant
services  for the effective implementation of food and nutrition related

e.      Hear appeals against orders of the District Grievance Redressal

f.        Hear complaints transferred  to it by the District Grievance
Redressal Officer

g.       Prepare Annual Report

(2)    The State Govt. has the power to remove the Chairperson and Members
of the Commission from the office  on the ground of  inefficiency,
insolvency etc.

(3)    The appointment procedure  will be decided as may be prescribed by
the Central Govt* ( section-22)*

18.   *Constitution of National Food Commission*

(1)    The Central Govt. shall  constitute  National Food Commission  to
perform the functions  such as  follows

* *

a.       Monitor and evaluate  the implementation of  the Act

b.      Either suo moto or on receipt of complaint inquire  into violations
of entitlements provided  in different sections of the Act.

c.       Give advice  to the Central  Govt., in synergizing the schemes and
framing new schemes for the entitlements provided under the Act.

d.      Recommend  to the Central Govt.  and the State Govt. , steps  for
effective implementation  of food and nutrition related schemes  and to
enable persons to fylly access  their entitlements  under the Act.

e.      Issue requisite guidelines  for training, capacity building  and
performance  management  of all persons  charged  with  the duty  of
the  implementation
of the schemes.

f.        Consider the reports  and recommendations of the  State
Commission for  inclusion  in its annual report.

g.       Hear appeals  against  the orders of the State Commission.

h.      Prepare Annual Report  on implementation of the Act.

(2)    The National Commission shall consist of  one Chairperson, five
members, and one Member-secretary.

(3)    There shall be at least  two women,  one person from  SC  and one
person from ST in the Commission.

(4)    The tenure of the Commission is five years and age limit is 65

(5)    The appointment procedure  will be decided as may be prescribed by
the Central Govt.

(6)    The Central Govt. has power to remove  the Commissioners  from the
office on the ground of  inefficiency, insolvency, convicted of an offence
etc. *(section-26)*

*19.   **Powers relating to enquiries *

The National Commission as well as State Commission, while enquiring into
any matter  have all the powers of Civil Court  while trying a suit  under
Civil Procedure Code, 1908. * (section-27)*

*20.   *  *Provision for fund  by Central Govt. to State Govt.  in certain
cases *

In case  of  short  supply  of food grains  from the central pool to a
state, the Central  Govt.  shall  provide  funds to the extent of  short
supply  to the State Govt.  for meeting  obligations  under different
provisions of the Act  as may be prescribed  by the Central Govt. *(section-31)

*21.   **Penalties *

Any public  servant  or authority  found guilty by  the State Commission or
the National Commission at the time  of deciding  any  complaint or appeal,
of failing  to provide  the relief  recommended  by the District Grievance
Redressal  Officer, without reasonable cause  or willfully ignoring  such
recommendation  shall be liable  to penalty  not exceeding  five thousand
rupees. *(section-41)*

*22.   **Act  to have overriding effect*

The provisions of this Act  or the schemes made  thereunder  shall have
effect  notwithstanding  anything  inconsistent  contained  in any other law
for the time being  in force  or  in any instrument  having effect  by
virtue of such law.  *(section-44) *

* *

*23.   * *Obligation of Central Govt.  for food security *

a.       The Central Govt.  shall, for ensuring the regular supply  of
foodgrains  to the persons belonging to priority households and general
households , allocate  from the central pool  the required  quantity  of
foodgrains  to the state Govt.  under Targeted PDS. It will also provide
foodgrains  in respect of all entitlements under provisions of the Act.

b.      The Central Govt. shall create and maintain required modern and
scientific facilities at various level. *( Section-30)*

*24.   **Obligation of State Govt.  for food security*

a.       The  State Govt*. *shall be responsible  for implementation and
monitoring of the scheme  of various ministries and Departments  of the
Central Govt. in accordance with  the guidelines issued by Central Govt.
for each scheme and their schemes for ensuring food security  to the
targeted  beneficiaries  in  the state.

b.      Under TPDS, the State Govt. shall  take delivery of food grain from
designated  depot of the Central Govt. in the state, ensure actual delivery
or supply of food grains to the entitled  beneficiaries.

c.       The State Govt.  shall prepare and notify  guidelines for
prevention, identification, and relief to cases  of starvation.

d.      In case of non-supply of entitled quantities of food grain or meals
to entitled  persons,  the State Govt. shall be responsible  for payment of
food security allowance.  *(section-32) *

25.   *Obligation of  Local Authorities *

The Local authorities  shall be responsible  for proper implementation
of  various
provisions of the Act  as assigned  to them  by the  State Govt. *

*26.   **Transparency and accountability *

·         All targeted Public Distribution System related records  shall be
placed  in public domain  and kept  open  for public inspection.

·         Every local authority or  body or any other authority   as
authorized  by State Govt. shall  conduct periodic social audit  on TPDS
and other welfare schemes, publicize its report and take necessary action   as
prescribed  by State Govt.

·         For ensuring transparency  and  proper functioning  of TPDS  and
accountability  of functionaries,  State Govt. shall  set up vigilance
committees  at the State, district, block and fair price shop level  consisting
of such persons  as may be prescribed  by State Govt. giving  due
representation  from the   local authorities  and  the Scheduled caste,
scheduled tribe, women, destitute etc.   *( section-35,36,37)*

*27.   **Subsidized  price for  Priority Household and General Household*

·         Subsidized  price  for priority  Household  shall be  not
exceeding  rupees 3 per kg for rice, Rs. 2/-  per kg  for wheat and Rs. 1/-
per kg  for  coarse grains.

·         Subsidized  price  for General Household  shall be  not exceeding
50 percent of the minimum  support  price  for wheat and coarse grains  and
not exceeding  50 % of derived  minimum support price for rice.  *(