Parliamentary panel recommends action against ‘erring’ officials for lapses in Food Security Act

New Delhi: A Parliamentary panel has recommended ‘punitive action’ against the ‘erring’ officials for committing ‘lapses’ and thus hindering ‘efficient and timely’ implementation of the National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA) by identifying beneficiaries.

Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report for 2018-19 on the NFSA says: “It is evident that there existed conspicuous lack of systematic planning, coordination and integration of data in the implementation of NFSA.” The initial timeline for the identification of the eligible households under the NFSA was up to July 4, 2014.

Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution has attributed the delay in non-identification and identification of beneficiaries under NFSA to the ‘non-availability of complete data,’ ‘time taken to conduct survey/verification’ and the non-completion of requisite preparatory activities.

Terming the Ministry’s reply untenable, the PAC report says: “Section 10 of the (NFSA) Act enjoins upon the state governments to identify the eligible households to be covered under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) in accordance with the guidelines applicable to the scheme and the remaining households as priority households in accordance with such guidelines to be specified by the state government.”

“The Committee, at this delayed stage, cannot but recommend that punitive should be taken against the erring officials at all levels who were responsible for the lapses that hindered efficient and timely implementation of the Act,” reads the PAC report, which was presented to the Lok Sabha on December 21 and was simultaneously laid in the Rajya Sabha.