Govt to supply fortified rice through ICDS, Mid-day Meal scheme from April

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In a bid to guarantee dietary safety, the federal government has determined to scale up the distribution of fortified rice and begin its supply through Integrated Child Development Services and Mid-Day Meal scheme from April, a senior meals ministry official stated on Thursday. Currently, fortified rice is being distributed by way of ration retailers, additionally known as the general public distribution system (PDS), in a single district every in six states out of the 15 states recognized for implementation of a central scheme on a pilot foundation for 3 months in 2019-20.

The goal of the scheme was to tackle anaemia and micro-nutrient deficiency within the nation.

“About 65 per cent of India’s population consumes rice as a staple food. Fortification of rice is a cost-effective and complementary strategy to increase vitamin and mineral content in diets and a step towards nutritional security and to fight anaemia and malnutrition in the country,” the official stated.

Till January this 12 months, about 94,574 tonne of fortified rice has been distributed through PDS in six states — Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh.

“Kerala, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh are likely to start the distribution of fortified rice under the pilot scheme shortly,” the official stated, including that the federal government is following up with different states that are but to begin the distribution.

Besides PDS, the official stated the meals ministry has determined to scale up the distribution of fortified rice beneath the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and Mid-Day Meal Scheme (MDM) masking all their centres throughout the nation from April.

The Ministry of Women and Child Development and the Department of School Education and Literacy have agreed to bear the incremental price of Rs 0.73 per kg for the fortification of rice beneath the ICDS and MDM, the official added.

Several measures are being taken to improve the supply of Fortified Rice Kernels (FRK) from the present 15,000 tonnes each year, the official added.

There are 28,000 rice millers within the nation. State-owned Food Corporation of India (FCI) has made it necessary for the rice millers in all states to set up mixing infrastructure for the manufacturing of fortified rice, the official famous.

“If the utilisation of the plants is increased in their existing facilities, the annual production of FRKs maybe around 30,000 tonne, which is sufficient to meet the demand covering all the ICDS and MDM centres across the country to start with,” the official stated.

That aside, the meals ministry has written to its Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises counterpart to think about a subsidy or appropriate provision for offering monetary help to encourage current and new rice millers to equip themselves with the mandatory gear to produce FRKs to meet the demand beneath PDS, ICDS and MDM schemes, the official added.

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