What are the salient features of the National Food Security Act, 2013? How has the Food Security Bill helped in eliminating hunger and malnutrition in India? (250 words) [2021]

The National Food Security Act, 2013 is a comprehensive legislation that aims to provide affordable and subsidised food to a significant portion of the population in India. Some of the key features of this act are:

  1. Coverage: The act aims to provide subsidised food to around two-thirds of the population, or around 800 million people, in India.
  2. Entitlements: Under the act, eligible households are entitled to receive subsidised food grains (rice, wheat, and coarse grains) at a fixed price of Rs. 3, Rs. 2, and Rs. 1 per kg respectively.
  3. Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS): The act envisages a targeted public distribution system through which subsidised food grains are made available to eligible households through a network of fair price shops.
  4. Pregnant and lactating women: The act provides for the provision of maternity benefits of not less than Rs. 6,000 to pregnant and lactating women.
  5. Children: The act also provides for the provision of nutritious meals to children in the age group of 6 months to 14 years through the Anganwadi centres and schools.
  6. Implementation: The act is implemented by the central and state governments through a joint mechanism, with the central government providing financial assistance for the implementation of the act.

In terms of its impact on eliminating hunger and malnutrition in India, the National Food Security Act has helped in increasing the coverage and access to subsidised food grains for a significant portion of the population. It has also ensured the provision of nutritious meals to children and pregnant and lactating women, which has contributed to the reduction of malnutrition in these groups. However, the act has faced challenges in its implementation, such as issues with the identification of eligible households, leakages in the distribution system, and inadequate coverage in certain areas. Despite these challenges, the act has contributed to the overall improvement of food security in India.

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