The Central Government, in order to remove the financial burden of the poor beneficiaries and to ensure nationwide uniformity and effective implementation of the National Food Security Act (2013), is providing food grains free of cost to Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) households and Priority Households (PHH) beneficiaries under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), for a period of one year beginning from 1st January 2023.
The decision was taken to strengthen the provisions of National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA) in terms of accessibility, affordability and availability of entitled foodgrains for the poor and ensure effective and uniform implementation of National Food Security Act 2013 (ONE NATION- ONE PRICE -ONE RATION).
The Central Government fully bears the Food Subsidy for procuring, allocating, transporting and delivering the foodgrains till the designated depot in the States with the help of the two food subsidy schemes, namely, Food Subsidy to FCI and Food Subsidy to Decentralized Procurement (DCP) States. These two food subsidy schemes have been subsumed as Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) for effective and uniform implementation of National Food Security Act, 2013 as also to strengthen the Food Security network in the country. Under this scheme, free foodgrains are being distributed through Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) from 1st January 2023. The additional cost of making foodgrains free of cost to the NFSA beneficiaries is being borne by Government of India.
The National Food Security Act, 2013 provides for coverage of upto 75% of the rural population and upto 50% of the urban population, which as per Census 2011 comes to 81.35 crore persons. The Coverage under the Act is substantially high to ensure that all the vulnerable and needy sections of the society get its benefit. At present, against the intended coverage of 81.35 crore, 80.48 crore beneficiaries are identified by the States/UTs under the Act for distribution of free foodgrains under the PMGKAY.