The rollout of the Centre's new integrated food security scheme is set to begin on January 1, 2023, officials said on Saturday.
As per the decision made by the Cabinet, the new scheme would provide free food grains to 81.35 crore beneficiaries under NFSA, for the year 2023.
The scheme would also ensure effective and uniform implementation of the National Food Security Act (NFSA).
According to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, the government has social and legal commitment to the people of the nation -- a dignified life by ensuring them access to food and nutritional security through availability of adequate quantity of quality foodgrains.
To fulfil this commitment to the most vulnerable 67 per cent of population which is 81.35 crore people covered under NFSA, the Cabinet decided to launch a new Central Sector scheme to fulfill the vision of 'One Nation - One Price - One Ration'.
The Secretary, DFPD (Department of Food and public Distribution) held a meeting with all state Food Secretaries on December 29.
The issues related to distribution of free food grains were discussed including technical resolutions.
All states and UTs are assured to implement the free foodgrain scheme from January 1, 2023.
Besides, notification of modified Schedule I reflecting zero price of foodgrains for AAY and PHH beneficiaries from January 1, 2023 to December 31, 2023 was issued on Saturday.
Under the scheme, the government will provide free foodgrains to all NFSA beneficiaries including Antyodaya Ann Yojana (AAY) households and Priority Household (PHH) persons for the next one year through the widespread network of 5.33 lakhs Fair Price Shops across the country.
The decision will strengthen the provisions of NFSA, 2013 in terms of accessibility, affordability and availability of foodgrains for the poor.
The new integrated scheme will subsume two current food subsidy schemes of the Department of Food and Public Distribution - (a) Food Subsidy to FCI for NFSA, and (b) Food Subsidy for decentralised procurement states, dealing with procurement, allocation and delivery of free foodgrains to the states under NFSA.
Free foodgrains will concurrently ensure uniform implementation of portability under One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC) across the country and will further strengthen this choice-based platform.
The Central government will bear the food subsidy of more than Rs 2 lakh crore for the year 2023.
The new scheme is aimed at bringing uniformity and clarity on food security under NFSA at beneficiary level.