Move to phase out food security scheme against law: activists

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 24, 2018

Antodaya Anna Yojana was introduced by the Vajpayee government in 2000

Terming the reported move by the NDA government to phase out the Antodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) as “ironical” , the Right to Food Campaign said this was in violation of the National Food Security Act (NFSA).

The scheme was introduced in 2000 by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government to address the problem of hunger amongst the poorest of the poor.

“Can the rules made by the Central Government override and undermine the provisions of a legislation passed by Parliament?,” the Right to Food Campaign, an umbrella of over 100 organisations and individuals such as Aruna Roy, Biraj Patnaik and Annie Raja, asked in a statement released on Thursday.

The activists said the move goes against Section 30 of the NFSA which states, “The Central Government and the State Governments shall, while implementing the provisions of this Act and the schemes for meeting specified entitlements, give special focus to the needs of the vulnerable groups especially in remote areas and other areas which are difficult to access, hilly and tribal areas for ensuring their food security.”

Under the AAY, 35 kg foodgrains is provided to the most vulnerable households, while the NFSA provides 5 kg an individual.

“Therefore, families, which are vulnerable and have less than seven members (which is the case with most single women headed/old persons households) stand to lose out as they will get lesser quantity of grain,” the statement said.

Alleging that a series of steps taken by the NDA government were “weakening” the provisions of the NFSA, such as repeated postponements in the deadline for the implementation of the Act, acceptance of the Shanta Kumar panel to replace distribution of foodgrains with cash, putting a limit on Minimum Support Price, etc, the activists called for strengthening of the public distribution system and greater transparency in decision-making.

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Published on June 18, 2015
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