The National Food Security Act, 2013


The National Food Security Act, 2013, is an Act of the Parliament of India that became a law on September 12, 2013. It converts into legal entitlements existing food security programmes of the Government of India, including the Midday Meal Scheme, the Integrated Child Development Services and the Public Distribution System. The Act seeks to provide food and nutritional security to the poor at affordable prices. It guarantees subsidised foodgrains to around two-thirds of India’s population, covering 75 per cent of rural households and 50 per cent of urban households. As per the provisions of the Act, eligible households have the right to purchase five kilograms of grains per individual per month at a fixed price – rice at Rs. 3 a kilo, wheat at Rs. 2 per kilo and coarse cereals at Rs. 1 a kilo. The Act also focuses on the nutritional needs of children, pregnant women and young mothers, guaranteeing them free meals daily. It aims to give more authority to women by considering them the head of their households, especially when ration cards are issued through the Public Distribution System. The Act mentions methods of implementation and imposes penalties on the authorities in case of a failure to comply.


  1. Households covered under the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) are entitled to five kilograms of foodgrains per person per month at subsidised prices.

  2. Households covered under Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) scheme continue to be entitled to 35 kilograms per household per month, as AAY households constitute the poorest of the poor. 

  3. Foodgrains that come under the TPDS will be available at the subsidised price of Rs. 3 per kilogram for rice, Rs. 2 per kilogram for wheat, and Re. 1 per kilogram for coarse grains or at a price fixed by the central government three years after the Act.

  4. Each state will identify eligible households for coverage under the TPDS. The list of eligible households will be placed in the public domain and displayed prominently.

  5. Pregnant women and young mothers are entitled to receive meals free of charge through the local childcare centre set up under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme. They are also entitled to receive maternity benefits of not less than Rs. 6,000 in instalments prescribed by the central government.

  6. Children aged 6 months to 6 years are entitled to age-appropriate meals free of charge through the local childcare centre set up under the ICDS.

  7. Children aged 6 to 14 years are entitled to one free midday meal everyday (except holidays) in government-aided schools and those run by local bodies.

  8. If foodgrains and meals are not supplied, entitled persons will receive a food security allowance from their state government.

  9. The oldest woman of the family (who must be at least 18 years of age) will be considered the head of the household when ration cards are being issued. 

  10. Every state government must set up an internal grievance redress mechanism, which may include call centres, helplines and the designation of nodal officers. 

  11. State governments must also appoint a District Grievance Redressal Officer for each district. This officer must enforce the Act and address the grievances of those who have been denied entitlements under the law. 

  12. If any public sector employee or authority fails to provide the relief recommended by the District Grievance Redressal Officer, he or she will be fined a penalty of not more Rs. 5,000.  

    Focus and Factoids compiled by Keiu Kikas.


Ministry of Law and Justice 


Government of India, New Delhi


12 Sep, 2013