Under the National Food Security Act of 2013, the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution would offer free foodgrains to all qualified households for one year commencing January 1.
In a notification, the Ministry stated, “Pursuant to the provisions of Schedule I to the National Food Security Act, 2013 (20 of 2013), the Central Government hereby decides that rice, wheat, and coarse grains shall be provided free of charge to all eligible households under section 3 of the National Food Security Act, 2013, for the period beginning on January 1, 2023 and ending on December 31, 2023.”
Additionally, 18 nodal officers have been appointed to oversee the seamless implementation of the free foodgrain scheme. These officers have the ranks of Deputy Secretary and Director. In addition, it has requested that Food Corporation of India personnel visit fair-price shops during the first week of the free foodgrain scheme’s implementation.
The decision was made one day after Union Food Secretary Sanjeev Chopra met with the Principal Secretaries of each state’s Food Department.
The government declared last week that beneficiaries of the National Food Security Act of 2013 would receive free foodgrains beginning in January 2023, in accordance with their entitlement. The decision was made on December 23 during a Union Cabinet meeting presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The government, however, cancelled the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, which gave 5 kg of free foodgrains on top of the NFSA entitlement of 5 kg of foodgrains at subsidised rates and was inaugurated in April 2020 during Covid-19.
Beneficiaries of the NFSA currently purchase foodgrains at subsidised prices: rice at Rs 3 per kilogramme, wheat at Rs 2 per kilogramme, and nutria-cereals at Re 1 per kilogramme. The NFSA provides food security for about 81.35 billion people at the cost of Rs 2 lakh crore borne by the government.