Millennium Post

Food security law: Centre calls meet of 25 states today

The Centre has called on Wednesday a meeting of Food Secretaries of 25 states/UTs, which have not implemented the National Food Security Act even though Parliament had passed the legislation more than a year ago.

The meeting will be chaired by Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan. It would review the preparedness of these 25 states/ Union Territories (UTs) to implement the food security law, which was passed by Parliament in September last year.

So far, only 11 states/UTs have implemented the food security law, which provides legal entitlement to five kg of subsidised foodgrains per person per month to two-third of the country’s population.

“A conference of Food Secretaries of 25 states/UTs, which have not yet started implementation of the National Food Security Act, has been convened by the Centre here tomorrow (Wednesday),” an official statement said on Tuesday.

The main objective of the conference is reviewing the preparedness of these states/UTs to implement the Act and progress in end-to-end computerisation of Targeted Public distribution System (TPDS), the statement added.

The Food Security Act, which came into force from July 5 last year through an Ordinance, provided a period of one year for identification of eligible households, as per the criteria which was to be evolved by states themselves.

“As many states had not completed the exercise of identification at the end of one year, the period had to be extended first by three months and then by another six months up to first week of April, 2015,” it added.

Earlier this month, the Centre had called a review meeting of Food Secretaries of 11 states/UTs where the law has been implemented.

These 11 states/UTs are Bihar, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab and Rajasthan.

Full implementation of the law would increase the Centre’s food subsidy bill by Rs 25,000 crore to Rs 1.31 lakh crore while the grains requirement would rise by 6-8 million tonnes from the current 55 million tonnes annually.

Under the law, the Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) households, poorest of the poor, will continue to receive 35 kg of foodgrains per family a month.

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