‘Rights to nutritional food should be fundamental right of every citizen’

Shimla, Dec 4 (UNI) The HP State Food Commission has demanded the Union Government and National Food Commission to declare the Right to nutritional food as fundamental right of every citizen in the country. Talking to UNI, member State Food Commission (SFC) Mr Ramesh Gangotra said that SFC demanded during a video conference held with other state SFC that nutritional food or meal should be declared the fundamental rights in the country. The state Food commission which was constituted three months ago was chaired by Dr Surendra G Ghankrokta (IAS retd, including member Ms Prem Chauhan and Ramesh Gangotra.

Mr Ghankrokta told the Union Secretary Food Mr Shudhanshu Panday (IAS), that Himachal Pradesh is among the best govern Public Distribution System as the entire state is covered with this national flagship programme. Chairman of SFC mentioned in the meeting that the mandate of NFSA is life with dignity and the Supreme Court has already ruled the Right to life is equal to right to health, food. Now we have NFSA (National Food Security Act), 2013 which works for food and nutrition security, quality and basic access to food. So area of operation of NFCs and SFCs extends to all such agencies involved in improving health nutrition, food safety and accessibility or purchasing power of vulnerable sections of the society. SFC urged the Union government that right to food should be implemented effectively in the country as it was already ensured under the National Food Security Act (NSFA). The state Government which have excluded the income tax payee out of this provision are now included under the system after the active intervention of the SFCs. Currently more than 17 lakh ration card holders are getting the benefits of the the food programme. Mr Gangotra told UNI that SFCs would monitor the implementation of PDS and serve as the redressal body. The Commission have five departments under its ambits which include rural development, Woman and Child Development, ICDS, Health and Food and Civil Supply. The commission also served as the appellant body to hear the appal on the public complaints after their redressal of District Redressal officer. The state government has recently notified the District Grievance Redressal Officer . Public if deprived of their rights under the food security acts and excluded from its benefits could lodged complaints and grievances before the DGRO. The SF would hear the appeal against the five departments if the complaints would not be satisfied with the redressal. The SFC is a Quasi-judicial body that could not initiate any criminal proceedings but it could provide the relief to the complaints on their appeal in term of payment of cash to the victims and beside ensuring the provisions and benefits taking action against the Public distributions Depots and other agencies implementing the act on the ground level. The SFC is also empowered under the NFSA to take cognizance of lapse in the PDS and other food schemes beside the deprived complaints. He said that Commission could take Suo motu action on new paper reports and other mediums and could appoint the amicus curiae to investigate the lapses and the complaints.