NEW DELHI: Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday wrote to PM Narendra Modi raising concerns that lakhs of vulnerable people across the country face food insecurity due to the lockdown and urged that the Centre must ensure none face hunger. Calling food insecurity tragic, she said India has a large buffer stock of foodgrains precisely for exigencies like the current pandemic.
“I welcome your decision to provide free of cost, 5 kg grain per person in addition to the entitlements under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) from April-June 2020,” she said. However, she said given the adverse affect of the lockdown and its prolonged impact on people’s livelihood, provision of 10 kg grains per person to NFSA beneficiaries must be extended for an additional period of three months till September 2020.
“Given the chronic economic distress faced by these beneficiaries, the food entitlements may be provided free of cost. Secondly, 10 kg grains per person may be provided free of cost, for a period of 6 months, to those who may be facing food insecurity but (are) not holding ration cards,” Sonia said. Stressing that the current crisis has pushed many more families into food insecurity and poverty, she said: “Population increases since 2011 have not been considered for determining each state’s entitlement under NFSA....all migrant labourers who have been facing acute distress may not be holding NFSA cards. In addition, many deserving people have been excluded from the NFSA lists.”