The proposed National Food Security Bill marks a paradigm shift in addressing the problem of food security, shifting from essentially a welfare approach to a right-based approach. Highlighting the provisions of the Food Security Bill, Prof K. V. Thomas said that the proposed Act provides for about two thirds of the population to become entitled to receive subsidized food-grains under Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS).
Some of the major highlights of the Food Security Bill are:
- Up to 75% of the rural population (with at least 46% from priority category) and up to 50% of urban population (with at least 28% from priority category) are to be covered under Targeted Public Distribution System.
- 7 kg of food-grains per person per month to be given to priority category households which include rice, wheat and coarse grains at Rs. 3, 2, and 1 per kg, respectively.
- At least 3 kg of food-grains per person per month to be given to general category households, at prices not exceeding 50% of Minimum Support Price.
- Women to be made head of the household for the purpose of issue of ration cards.
- Maternity benefit to pregnant women and lactating mothers.
- End-to-end computerisation of Targeted Public Distribution System.
- Three-tier independent grievance redressal mechanism.
- Social audit by local bodies such as Gram Panchayats, Village Councils etc.
- Meals for special groups such as destitute, homeless persons, emergency/disaster affected persons and persons on the verge of starvation.
- Food Security Allowance in case of non-supply of food-grains or meals.