The government will provide free food grains for one year to 81.35 crore beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) from January 1. The Food Ministry on Saturday notified zero price foodgrains to be distributed to all NFSA beneficiaries from January 1 to December 31, 2023.
The central government will bear food subsidy of over Rs 2 lakh crore for the year 2023, it said in a statement. For the smooth implementation of the scheme, the General Managers of Food Corporation of India (FCI) have been asked to compulsorily visit three ration shops in their jurisdiction and submit the report. The Ministry has also issued an advisory to the States on the mechanism of providing margin to the dealer distributing the food grains to the beneficiaries in view of the free food grains.
The Centre's new Integrated Food Security Scheme is scheduled to start from January 1, 2023, the food ministry said in a statement. Banai Yojana will provide free food grains to 81.35 crore beneficiaries under NFSA for the year 2023. The scheme will also ensure effective and uniform implementation of NFSA.
Earlier, the beneficiaries covered under NFSA were paying a concessional rate of Rs 1-3 per kg till December 31, 2022. Also, he was getting free food grains under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) launched in April 2020 to provide relief to the poor during the COVID-19 pandemic. But, the PMGKAY which was extended several times, expires on December 31, 2022.
Subsequently, the two food subsidy schemes were subsumed under the new integrated scheme with the approval of the cabinet. The new scheme aims to bring uniformity and clarity on food security under NFSA at the beneficiary level, the statement said.
Distribution through 5.33 lakh fair price shops Under the new integrated scheme, the central government will distribute
5.33 lakh fair price shops across the country to all NFSA beneficiaries, Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) households and priority household households for the year 2023. Will provide free food grains to both the persons. About 5 kg per person per month will be allotted for priority household category while 35 kg per family per month will be given for Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) families provided under NFSA.