Fortification of Rice: Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the fortification of rice distributed under various government schemes including the Public Distribution System (PDS) and Mid-Day-Meal scheme by 2024.
- This announcement was made by him while addressing the nation on 75th Independence Day.
- As per the announcement, rice being distributed through all government schemes will be fortified by 2024.
- This decision was taken in order to address the problem of malnutrition and lack of essential nutrients in children and women living in poor conditions as it poses a major obstacle towards their development.
- Micronutrient deficiencies or ‘hidden hunger’ also continue to pose significant public health problems in Indian populations.
Significance of fortified rice in India:
- Fortification of rice in India is significant in countering malnutrition because, the government distributes more than 300 lakh tonnes of rice under schemes covered under National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013.
- Fortified rice is a cost-effective strategy to increase mineral and vitamin content in diets.
- For 2021-22, approximately 328 lakh tonnes of rice allocated by the Centre is being distributed through schemes under the National Food Security Act such as Mid-Day Meals (MDM), Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), and Targeted Public Distribution System (PDS).
Note: India produces over one-fifth of the world’s rice. The country is also the largest consumer of rice, accounting for 6.8 kilograms per month as per capita rice consumption.
What is food fortification?
- Food fortification is the simplest and sustainable public health strategy that addresses the challenge of micronutrient deficiencies.
- It is a cost-effective, scientifically proven, and globally recognized approach.
- It also helps in easily reaching wider & vulnerable populations by means of existing food delivery systems.
What is the Fortification of rice?
- The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) defines fortification as “deliberately increasing the content of essential micronutrients in a food so as to improve the nutritional quality of food and to provide public health benefit with minimal risk to health.”
- According to the FSSAI norms, 1 kg fortified rice shall contain iron (28mg-42.5mg), folic acid (75-125 microgram), and Vitamin B-12 (0.75-1.25 microgram).
- In addition, rice may also be fortified with micronutrients, singly or in combination, at the level– zinc (10mg-15mg), Vitamin A (500-750 microgram RE), Vitamin B1 (1mg-1.5mg), Vitamin B2 (1.25mg-1.75mg), Vitamin B3 (12.5mg-20mg) and Vitamin B6 (1.5mg-2.5mg) per Kg.
NFHS 4 Report:
- According to the National Family Health Survey report, India has the largest burden of iron deficiency and anaemia worldwide.
- About 59% of children and 50% of pregnant women are anaemic in India.
- Child and maternal malnutrition account for 15% of India’s total disease burden.