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Chhattisgarh launched first food security law in the nation The Chhattisgarh Assembly enacted landmark legislation by unanimously

passing the Food Security Act, becoming the first state in the country to introduce such a law, covering several deprived sections of society left out by existing welfare programmes. The law also takes a major step to empower women by considering the eldest woman in a household as its head in matters related to the ration card. The Act considers entitlements under both public distribution system (PDS) and non-PDS on a household basis and not per person and places them under the Chhattisgarh Lok Seva Guarantee Act 2011. The Act makes food entitlements a right and its non-compliance has been made an offence. Officials can be penalized if PDS rations are being siphoned. The state government will pay for entitlements not covered by the Centre. While some households mentioned under the Act will get rice at Rs 1 per kg, several categories such as destitute and disaster-affected persons will get it free. The Act includes all households of landless agricultural labourers, small or marginal farmers, workers in the urban informal sector and construction workers. It also defines a new category of particularly vulnerable social groups which includes households headed by terminally ill persons, widows or single women, physically challenged persons, all households headed by a person aged 60 or more with no assured means of subsistence or societal support and a person freed from bonded labour. All households of particularly vulnerable social groups shall be designated as Antyodaya households. The law also makes foodgrains mandatory for all students living in hostels or ashrams, meals through dal-bhat centres or take-home rations through panchayats for destitutes and homeless persons, besides making special provisions for emergency or disaster-affected persons. The Act also includes meals for pregnant women and lactating mothers and children from six months to six years through anganwadis, mid-day meal for children of 6-14 years in school and supplementary nutrition for malnourished children. These groups will now have a right to food entitlements and officials will be penalised for any failure.

Households paying income tax, households in non-scheduled areas who own more than four hectares of irrigated or eight hectares of non-irrigated land, all households that own a pucca house (concrete roof) of carpet area more than 1,000 sq ft in urban areas and are liable to pay property tax, are among categories excluded.