Disabled people will now be covered under National Food Security Act
In an important announcement, the Union Food Ministry has said that all state governments and union territories must provide subsidised foodgrains to all eligible disabled people under the National Food Security Act.
One of the Centre’s most critical welfare schemes will now be extended to people with disabilities. In an order, the Union Food Ministry has said that all states and union territories must provide subsidised food grains to eligible disabled people under the National Food Security Act (NFSA).
States have also been asked to issue fresh ration cards to disabled people not covered under the NFSA.
Under the NFSA, the Centre distributes highly subsidised food grains to over 81 crore beneficiaries. Each person is entitled to 5 kg for Rs 1-3 per kg.
The department advised all States/UTs to ensure that all disabled persons, who are eligible as per identification criteria of beneficiaries under the NFSA, are covered under the NFSA, 2013. – Union Food Ministry
Disabled people must be given food grains by states under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) as well. Under PMGKAY, the government is providing extra 5 kg food grains to each NFSA beneficiary and 1 kg pulses free of cost. Initially it was implemented for three months until June and later extended till November. The PMGKAY is being implemented to help NFSA beneficiaries during the Covid pandemic.
The Centre has also asked states to cover disabled persons without ration cards under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Package scheme which was launched specially for migrants during the lockdown period for May and June.
This decision comes a few weeks after a Delhi High Court issued a strongly worded statement that people with disabilities have been excluded from welfare schemes for a long time and that the Centre should consider the idea of providing them with ration based on their disability certificates.
This was in response to a PIL filed by the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) seeking directions to the Department of Food and Public Distribution to direct all state governments and union territories to provide food grains free of cost to people with disabilities as is being done for migrant labourers during the pandemic.
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