The Haryana government faces a formidable task in the coming weeks following its announcement to roll out the national food security scheme on August 20, birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Notwithstanding the short notice, the government has to ensure full transparency, a requirement under the new ordinance, in identifying the beneficiaries under the National Food Security Ordinance. Making the task difficult is the fact that the government has no mechanism to identify or conduct a survey to prepare the list of beneficiaries as laid down by the new law. It has announced that the scheme will cover 51.61 per cent of the population which translates to 1.3 crore people. The state government is depending on the Central government to provide data of priority households to be covered under the scheme, even though it has the number of beneficiaries under the Antodaya Anna Yojna (AAY) and BPL families which constitute 12.5 lakh people.
The government also needs to draw a preference list of public institutions and public bodies such as panchayats, self help groups, cooperatives and licenced shops and ensure diversification of commodities distributed under PDS. Another requirement is the setting up of a state Food Commission with five members to monitor implementation of the act.