Expand the food safety net without any more delay
Considering the increase in the size of India’s population since 2011, it is crucial to expand its PDS coverage. But the Government’s resistance to act in the direction needs to be looked upon.
The exclusion problem
- The beginning: The National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013, coverage ratios were too low to start with, or due to the ‘freeze’ in coverage in absolute terms (around 800 million).
- No in-built mechanism for updating coverage: Between the last Census in 2011 and today, population increase has not been accounted for in determining the number of ration cards.
- Absence of any formula: In the absence of the latest census data, the government has devised no formula-policy for including more needy persons to get the benefit under the NFSA,