Representational Image (Pixabay)
New Delhi: Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on April 8, 2022, accorded its approval for the 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.
The entire cost of rice fortification (around Rs. 2,700 crore per annum) would be borne by the Govt. of India as part of a food subsidy till its full implementation up to June 2024.
The following three phases are envisaged for full implementation of the initiative:
Phase-I: Covering ICDS and PM POSHAN in India all over by March 2022, which is under implementation.
Phase-II: Phase I above plus TPDS and OWS in all Aspirational and High Burden Districts on stunting (total 291 districts) by March 2023.
Phase-Ill: Phase II above plus covering the remaining districts of the country by March 2024.
As part of vigorous implementation efforts, the Department of Food and Public distribution has been coordinating all ecosystem-related activities with all relevant stakeholders like State Government / UT, line Ministries/Department, Development Partners, Industries, Research Institutes etc. The FCI and State Agencies are already engaged in the procurement of fortified rice and so far nearly 88.65 LMT of fortified rice has been procured for the supply and distribution.
It’s notable that Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address on the 75th Independence Day (August 15, 2021) had made an announcement on the Fortification of Rice so as to provide nutrition to every poor person in the country to overcome malnutrition and lack of essential nutrients in women, children, lactating mothers, etc. as it poses major obstacles in their development.
Earlier, the Centrally Sponsored Pilot Scheme on “Fortification of Rice and its Distribution under Public Distribution System” was implemented for a period of 3 years beginning from 2019-20. Eleven (11) States- Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Jharkhand successfully distributed the fortified rice in their identified districts (one district per State) under the pilot scheme. (Press Release)