NEW DELHI: In order to bring all eligible persons from the most vulnerable and economically weakest sections of the population, under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), the centre has issued an advisory to launch a special drive to reach out, identify and issue the NFSA ration cards to all such persons residing in urban and rural areas. All states and union territories have been called upon to take measures to reach out to the vulnerable and weakest sections of the society such as street dwellers, rag pickers, hawkers, and rickshaw pullers, among others.
The centre’s directive comes amid reports that the poorest of the poor are in dire need of food grains but are unable to procure ration cards. Food secretary Sudhanshu Pandey while issuing the advisory said that states and union territories have the scope to add coverage of 1.97 crore people under the NFSA. As many as 14 states have already completed a 100 percent coverage quota. The operational responsibilities for identification of eligible persons and households to be covered under NFSA and issuance of ration cards will rest with the respective states and union territories.
Under NFSA, the government provides 5 kg of wheat and rice per person every month at a highly subsidized rate of 2 to 3 per kg. Around 80 crore people are currently covered under this law passed in 2013. The government buys wheat and paddy from farmers at a minimum support price to meet the food grains requirement under the food law. The state-owned Food Corporation of India (FCI) is the nodal agency for the procurement and distribution of food grains.