Let’s strengthen and not dilute the National Food Security Act
We must widen its coverage to feed the needy instead of letting subsidy reductions get the better of it
Subsidy reduction is a key aim of Niti Aayog’s proposal to reduce food-security coverage, but our subsidy level is not as high as it looks and the move could thwart efforts to achieve nutrition goals
A recent discussion paper by the Niti Aayog has suggested a reduction in the coverage of beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) from 75% of the population in rural areas to 60%, and from 50% to 40% in urban areas. The rationale: this will lower India’s food subsidy by ₹47,229 crore. This is not the only proposal to reform the NFSA. Earlier this year, the Economic Survey suggested hiking the issue price of foodgrains from the existing ₹3 per kg for rice, ₹2 per kg for wheat and ₹1 per kg for coarse cereals through the public distribution system (PDS).