Budget 2023: India’s continued commitment to food and nutritional security
India 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 ease the hardships faced by the poor due to economic disruption caused by Covid-19, the Government initially launched Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) for the period from April to June 2020. However, keeping in view the need for continuous support to the poor and the needy, the scheme has been extended and implemented in various phases.
Continuing on the commitment to ensure food and nutrition security, central government is implementing from Jan 1, 2023, a scheme to supply free food grains to all antyodaya and priority households for the next 1 year. This will improve the access, affordability, and availability of entitled foodgrains for about 81 crores under National Food Security Act (NFSA) beneficiaries. At the same time, it will remove the financial burden from the poorest of the poor beneficiaries. Centre’s food subsidy expense in next one year under NFSA and other welfare schemes is set to increase to over INR 2 lakh crore ($ 24.5 Bn).
To ease the process of access to food, the Government launched a citizen-centric and technology-driven scheme in 2019 called the One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC) scheme. The ONORC system enables intra-State and inter-State portability of ration cards. The ONORC scheme will compliment this initiative in ensuring food and nutritional security to all the priority households.
The scheme will also ensure India accomplishes its global commitment under Sustainable Development Goal – 2 of ensuring zero hunger. This is especially important as the world reels under food insecurity due to global disruptions.