Per capita income of population in India has increased in real terms by 33.4 per cent since the enactment of National Food Security Act (NFSA) in 2013, the Centre has told the Supreme Court.
In an affidavit filed before the top court, the Union government said this rise in per capita income of people has taken a large number of households to higher income class.
“During last eight years, since the enactment of NFSA, per capita income of the population in India has increased in real terms by 33.4 per cent. The rise in per capita income of people is bound to have taken a large number of households to higher income class and they may not be as vulnerable as they were in 2013-14,” the Centre said.
The affidavit was filed in response to a plea seeking welfare measures for migrant workers.
The government has notified the National Food Security Act, 2013 on September 10, 2013 with the objective to provide for food and nutritional security in human life cycle approach, by ensuring access to adequate quantity of quality food at affordable prices to people to live a life with dignity.
The Act provides for coverage of up to 75 per cent of the rural population and up to 50 per cent of the urban population for receiving subsidised foodgrains under Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS).
Referring to the increase in per capita income, the Centre said the upper limit of 75 per cent for rural and 50 per cent for urban population who were considered vulnerable in 2013-14, would have gone down considerably.
“Non-exclusion of non-eligible households in NFSA increases the subsidy burden on the Union government,” it said.
The Union government also informed the top court that about 4.7 crore ration cards have been added in the last eight years under NFSA.
“The overall national ceiling under NFSA is 81.4 crore beneficiaries and a few states are yet to reach their state ceiling. Actual national coverage is nearly 79.8 crore as on August 31. Under NFSA ceiling, there is still scope for adding approximately 1.6 crore beneficiaries for Antyodaya Anna Yojana and priority households categories,” it said.
Migrant workers play a very vital role in building the nation and their rights cannot be ignored at all, the top court had earlier said while asking the Centre to devise a mechanism so that they receive food grains without ration cards.
It also observed that citizens are dying due to hunger despite our development and modalities should be set out to ensure that maximum migrant workers are given rations.
The apex court had said the welfare schemes devised by the Centre should reach a maximum number of workers and the state governments will have to cooperate and assist the Union of India.