1. Home
  2. Agriculture World

Fortified Rice Helps in Preventing Cretinism & Brain damage, say Experts

The Secretary stated that Phase I covered ICDS (Integrated Child Development Services) and PM POSHAN throughout India by March 2022, and that nearly 17 lakh MT of fortified rice was distributed. However, under the PDS, more than 90 districts (in 16 states) have begun lifting fortified rice, with approximately 2.58 million MT distributed so far.

Shivam Dwivedi
Rice
Rice

The government plans to cover 291 districts aspirational and heavy burden districts with rice fortification by March 2023. Sudhanshu Pandey, Secretary, Department of Food & Public Distribution, told the media in New Delhi today that 90 LMT (Lakh Metric Tonnes) of fortified rice has already been produced under Phase II of the 'distribution of Fortified Rice through Public Distribution System (PDS),' which began in April 2022 and has overcome all production-related challenges.

By March 2023, all Aspirational and High Burden Districts, a total of 291 districts, will be covered by Phase II of the programme, which includes Phase I plus TPDS (Targeted Public Distribution System) and OWS (Other Welfare Schemes).

The Secretary stated that Phase I covered ICDS (Integrated Child Development Services) and PM POSHAN throughout India by March 2022, and that nearly 17 lakh MT of fortified rice was distributed. However, under the PDS, more than 90 districts (in 16 states) have begun lifting fortified rice, with approximately 2.58 million MT distributed so far.

Pandey also stated that an independent concurrent evaluation of the rice fortification programme would be conducted by the Development Monitoring & Evaluation Office (DMEO) under NITI Aayog to assess the program's outcomes and impact. He also stated that the Steering Committee in the states will oversee the program's implementation.

As part of its aggressive implementation efforts, the Department of Food and Public Distribution has coordinated all ecosystem-related activities with all relevant stakeholders such as the State Government/UT, line Ministries/Departments, Development Partners, Industries, Research Institutes, and so on.

The FCI and State Agencies are in the process of procuring fortified rice, with nearly 126.25 LMT procured so far for supply and distribution. The entire cost of rice fortification (approximately Rs. 2700 Cr. per year) would be borne solely by the Government of India as part of a food subsidy until its full implementation in June 2024.

Jagannathan, Joint Secretary DFPD, gave a presentation on "Rice Fortification and its Distribution Under PDS, ICDS, PM POSHAN, and Other Schemes." He described the process of distributing fortified rice, emphasizing that Phase I served as a platform for districts to establish an ecosystem for the scheme. Along with the districts covered in Phase II, the remaining districts will be covered in Phase III by March 2024.

Dr. Kapil Yadav, Additional Professor, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, also gave a presentation on 'Staple Food Fortification as a Complementary Strategy to Address Micronutrient Vulnerability.' According to him, food fortification is a low-cost complementary strategy for addressing multiple micronutrient deficiencies.

Dr. Yadav stated that only 0.01 percent of the population may face health risks as a result of eating fortified rice, particularly those suffering from Thalassemia Major. He also stated that fortified rice aids in the prevention of Cretinism, Goiter, IIH (Thyrotoxicosis), brain damage, improved foetal and neonatal health, and increased population productivity. As a result, the benefits of rice fortification far outweigh the risks involved.

More than 2 billion people worldwide have Multiple Micronutrient Deficiencies, 1.6 billion have anaemia, more than half have iron deficiency, and 260,100 pregnancies are affected by Neural Tube Defects (NTDs) each year, and multiple micronutrient deficiencies are a major cause of mortality, morbidity, and impaired human development.

Dr. Siddharth Waghulkar, Deputy Head- Nutrition and School Feeding Unit, United Nations World Food Programme (UN-WFP), briefed on the fortification process and evidence from various Indian studies in his presentation on 'Rice Fortification: Process and Evidence.'

Previously, a three-year Centrally Sponsored Pilot Scheme on "Rice Fortification and Distribution through the Public Distribution System" was implemented beginning in 2019-20. Under the pilot scheme, eleven (11) states successfully distributed fortified rice in their designated districts (1 district per state). The pilot scheme ended on March 31, 2022, with nearly 4.30 lakh MT of fortified rice distributed.

In response to the Prime Minister's announcement to provide nutritional security, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has accorded its approval for supply of fortified rice throughout the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), Pradhan Mantri Poshan Shakti Nirman-PM POSHAN [erstwhile Mid-Day Meal Scheme (MDM)] and Other Welfare Schemes (OWS) of Government of India in all States and Union Territories (UTs) by 2024 in a phased manner.

International No Diet Day 2024 Quiz Take a quiz
Share your comments
FactCheck in Agriculture Project

Subscribe to our Newsletter. You choose the topics of your interest and we'll send you handpicked news and latest updates based on your choice.

Subscribe Newsletters