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Fortified rice

Context:

The Centre has distributed 3.38 lakh metric tonnes of fortified rice till December 2021 through anganwadis and mid-day meal schemes at government schools, according to the Economic Survey.

Relevance:

GS III- Indian Economy, Public distribution system

Dimensions of the article:
  1. Key Points
  2. About Food Fortification
  3. Need for Food Fortification
  4. About Fortification of Rice

Key Points:

The Centrally Sponsored Pilot Scheme on “Fortification of Rice and its Distribution under Public Distribution System (PDS)” has been approved for a period of three years beginning 2019-20.

  • The Pilot Scheme is funded by Government of India in the ratio of 90:10 in respect of North Eastern, Hilly and Island States and 75:25 in respect of the rest of the States.
  • The Pilot Scheme focuses on 15 districts, preferably 1 district per State.
  • The decentralized model of fortification by States/UTs has been approved in the Pilot Scheme with blending at the rice milling stage.
  • The operational responsibilities and identification of the districts for implementation of the Pilot Scheme lie with the States/UTs.
  • States/UTs have been requested to operationalize blending of fortified rice at milling stage and start its distribution through PDS as early as possible.
  • So far, 15 States have consented for implementation of the Pilot Scheme.

About Food Fortification:

  • It is defined as the practice of adding vitamins and minerals to commonly consumed foods during processing to increase their nutritional value.
  • It is a  safe strategy for improving diets and for the prevention and control of micronutrient deficiencies.
  • It is a cost-effective strategy with demonstrated health, economic and social benefits.
  • Since the nutrients are added to staple foods that are widely consumed, this is an excellent method to improve the health of a large section of the population, all at once.
  • As per the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) website, 21 varieties of biofortified staples including wheat, rice, maize, millets, mustard, groundnut had been developed by 2019-20.

Need for Food Fortification:

  • Maternal and child undernutrition cause 45% of all deaths in children under five in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs)
  • A particularly widespread problem in LMICs is hidden hunger, or a chronic lack of essential vitamins and minerals in the diet.
  • Deficiencies in one or more micronutrients such as iron, zinc, and vitamin A compromise the physical and cognitive capacity of millions of people.
  • Overall, it has been estimated that micronutrient deficiencies account for about 7.3% of the global burden of disease, and iron and vitamin A deficiency rank among the 15 leading causes of the global disease burden, contributing to the deaths of over one million children annually.

About Fortification of Rice

  • It refers to the addition of key vitamins and minerals to increase the nutritional value of rice.
  • The fortified Rice generally contains Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B12, Folic Acid, Iron and Zinc.
  • Rice can be fortified by adding a micronutrient powder to the rice that adheres to the grains or spraying the surface of ordinary rice grains in several layers with a vitamin and mineral mix to form a protective coating.

-Source: The Hindu

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October 2022
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