iconimg Sunday, April 26, 2015

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Shimla, July 19, 2013
The Food Security Bill would help solve the problem of malnutrition across the country, said All-India Congress Committee (AICC) special representative Prem Chandra Mishra.
Addressing mediapersons here on Friday, Mishra said the bill was a historic decision taken by the UPA government and the state government was keen to implement it from August 20.

The scheme would lay special focus on nutritional support to women and children. Besides being entitled to nutritious meals as per the prescribed nutritional norms, expectant women and lactating mothers would also receive maternity benefits of at least Rs. 6,000. The children in the age group of six months to 14 years would be entitled to take home ration or cooked food as per nutritional norms.

Enumerating the benefits of the scheme, he disclosed that the scheme would cover two-third of the population to get highly subsidised foodgrain up to 75 % of the rural population and 50% of the urban population, poorest of the poor would continue to get 35 kg of foodgrain per household and food security allowance in case of non-supply of foodgrain.

He added, “Eligible households to be identified rests with the states and union territories which may frame their own criteria or use social economic and caste census data if they so desire.”

Mishra disclosed that in order to address the concern of the states regarding additional financial burden, the central government would provide assistance to the states towards cost of intra-state transportation, handling of foodgrain and fair price shop (FPS) dealers' margin, for which norms would be developed, he added.

To monitor it, a grievance redressal mechanism with designated officers would be set up in the state to ensure transparency and accountability, he added.

Mishra said, “The bill also provides for penalty to be imposed on public servants or authority is found guilty of failing to comply with the relief recommended by the district grievance redressal officer.”