The Maharashtra government has issued a notification for creating an administrative framework for the implementation of the National Food Security Act, 2013. The notification, issued on December 13, 2017, provides for setting up the State Food Commission (SFC), creating the post of District Grievance Redressal Officer (DGRO) and a Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) whereby essential commodities will be made available to ration card holders through Fair Price Shops (FPS).
The grievance redressal mechanism would consist of a call centre-based helpline with toll free numbers for registering complaints and providing information to the public, says the notification.
The DGRO would hear, dispose of complaints received or take suo-moto action related to distribution of entitled food grains or meals. It would also have the powers to examine books, accounts, documents or commodities in custody of a person in matters relating to distribution of entitled food grains or meals, it says.
The DGRO would take necessary action on complaints lodged with him within 60 working days. It would have the powers of a civil court while trying a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure (CrPC), 1908.
The notification also provides for creation of the State Food Commission which would be headquartered in Mumbai and headed by a chairperson. The commission would have the powers to directly hear grievance or complaints. The commission would also have the powers to visit and inspect any stock and delivery point, fair price shops, school, anganwadi, local authority or office of the DGRO.
As per the National Food Security Act (NFSA), under the Targeted Public Distribution System, all ration card holders, who have an annual income of Rs 44,000 in rural and Rs 59,000 for urban areas respectively, will be eligible to avail the benefits of subsidised food as priority household beneficiaries through Fair Price Shops (FPS).
As per the states’ economic survey for 2016-17, the NFSA covers 62.3 per cent of the population in the state. There were about 51,204 fair price shops in the state as on December 31, 2016 of which 5,427 were in the tribal areas and 28 were mobile ones. Under the TPDS, the eligible families are provided essential commodities like rice at Rs 3 per kg, wheat at Rs 2 per kg and coarse grain at Rs 1 per kg.