According to some reports which appeared in the media, alleging wrong identification of beneficiaries and discrimination in the issue of National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA) ration cards in Bihar, the Department of Food & Public Distribution under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution hereby clarifies that the identification of beneficiaries under NFSA is done based on certain criteria and the responsibility for this rests with the State governments. There has been no discrimination or wrong identification of NFSA beneficiaries in Bihar. The system of identification of beneficiaries as per norms is uniform across all the States/UTs.
The National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA), provides coverage for a total of about 8.71 crore beneficiaries in Bihar, including about 25 Lakh Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) families.
According to DoFPD, in the month of May 2020, the state of Bihar had requested to the Department to increase the monthly allocation for the utilization of up to 100% coverage of persons under NFSA i.e. 8.71 Crore. The Central Government, in response to the State’s request took quick action to approve the total coverage of NFSA beneficiaries in Bihar up to the maximum limit of 8.71 Crore.
Recently the state of Bihar was asked to provide a report on the coverage under NFSA by the DoFPD and it has been reported by the State that 15 lakh inactive ration cards exist in the State and their cleaning process is going on as per norms. In addition to this, State has confirmed that about 23.39 lakh new ration cards have been issued, over and above 1.41 crore existing ration cards. State has also informed that list of NFSA beneficiaries may be finalized after completion of July 2020 month distribution and it is also informed that the state does not have its own scheme for food grain distribution under PDS.
Under regular NFSA, the Central Government alone provides a quantity of about 55.24 Lakh Metric Tonnes (LMT) per year to Bihar, entailing a food subsidy of nearly Rs. 16,500 crore. In addition to this, under PMGKAY, for the period April-November, 2020, a quantity of nearly 34.8 LMT free foodgrains has been provided with additional food subsidy of nearly Rs. 12,061 crore. Further under Atma Nirbhar Bharat Package (ANBP) an additional quantity of nearly 86,400 MT of free food grains for two months (for distribution to nearly 87 lakh migrants/month) has been provided at a subsidy of nearly Rs. 322 crore.
Thus, DoFPD clarifies that all efforts are being made for the achievement of ‘Rightful Targeting’ of food subsidy benefits to the genuinely needy persons/families in Bihar by the Central Government.