The food subsidy bill has increased from Rs 1,13,171.2 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 1,71,127.5 crore in 2018-19, it said adding that the reasons for widening of the food subsidy have been many.
While the economic cost has increased, the central issue price (the rate at which grains are sold in ration shops) for NFSA beneficiaries has not been revised from Rs 200 per quintal in case of wheat and Rs 300 per quintal in the case of rice.
The acquisition and distribution costs of foodgrains for the central pool together constitute the economic cost. The difference between the per-quintal economic cost and the per-quintal Central Issue Price (CIP) gives the quantum of food subsidy.
"While the interests of the vulnerable sections of the population need to be safeguarded, for sustainability of food security operations, the issue of burgeoning food subsidy bill needs to be addressed," the Survey added.
The NFSA has been implemented in all states and Union territories. However, in Chandigarh, Puducherry and urban areas of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, the NFSA is being implemented in cash transfer mode, under which food subsidy is being transferred into the bank accounts of beneficiaries who then have a choice to buy foodgrains from open market.
During the financial year 2019-20, the government allocated 603.88 lakh tonnes of foodgrains to states and UTs under the NFSA and other welfare schemes as on December 2019.
Under the NFSA, the government supplies 5 kg of subsidised foodgrains to each person per month to over 81 crore people through 5 lakh ration shops in the country.
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