It has been almost one year since Prime Minister Narendra Modi In his Independence Day address last year from the rampart of the Red Fort announced that rice supplied under all public distribution systems would be fortified by the year 2024.
Since his speech on August 15, 2021, a total of 151 districts across 24 States have already lifted fortified rice under the targeted public distribution system. Nearly 6.83 lakh tonnes have been distributed by the States/Union territories under the phase which started from April 1, 2022, an official statement said on Thursday.
And under Integrated Child Development Scheme and the Pradhan Mantri Poshan Shakti Nirman (PM POSHAN), nearly 7.36 lakh tonnes have been lifted by the States/UTs so far. Around 52 per cent of the districts have lifted the foodgrains in Phase II.
Fortification is the process of adding fortified rice kernels containing micronutrients (Iron, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12) to normal rice. Fortified rice is nearly identical to traditional rice in aroma, taste, and texture. This process is done in the rice mills at the time of milling of rice.
Fortification of rice is found to be a cost-effective and complementary strategy to increase vitamin and mineral content in diets with low turnaround time and a step towards nutritional security and helps in fighting anaemia and malnutrition in the country. This strategy is implemented in many geographies in the world.
Besides, Phase-I covering ICDS and PM POSHAN had been implemented during 2021-22 and nearly 17.51 lakh tonnes had been distributed in the States/UTs.
Prime Minister Modi announced the supply of fortified rice in every scheme government of India throughout the country by 2024 in a phased manner.
Meanwhile, the number of rice mills having blending infrastructure was 2,690 with a cumulative blending capacity of around 13.67 lakh tonnes as of August 15, 2021, which has now increased to more than 9,000 rice mills in the country which have installed blending infrastructure for the production of fortified rice, the statement added.
The present cumulative monthly production capacity is around 60 lakh tonnes, which is an increase of more than 4 times since last year.
The capacity for manufacturing such a variety of rice too has gone up.
Cumulative annual fortified rice kernel manufacturing capacity which was at 0.9 lakh tonnes in August last year has gone upto 3.5 LMT, a four times increase.
Food Corporation of India and other state agencies of states have been procuring fortified rice since 2020-21 and nearly 145.93 lakh tonnes of fortified rice have been procured so far, it added. (ANI)