Part of: Prelims and GS II – Policies and interventions
Context: The Central government has approved the distribution of fortified rice across government schemes such as the public distribution system, and nutrition services for school children and anganwadi beneficiaries.
- The entire cost of the scheme of Rs. 2,700 crore will be borne by the Centre until it is fully implemented by June, 2024.
- The initiative will be implemented in three phases.
- In the first phase, anganwadi centres under Integrated Child Development Services and PM POSHAN (or erstwhile mid-day meals) will be covered.
- This was slated to be achieved by March 2022, but is still under implementation.
- The second phase will cover targeted public distribution systems and other welfare schemes in all 291 aspirational districts as well as districts with a high burden of stunting by March 2023.
- In the final phase the remaining districts of the country will be covered by March 2024.
What is Fortification?
- Fortification is the addition of key vitamins and minerals such as iron, iodine, zinc, Vitamin A & D to staple foods such as rice, milk and salt to improve their nutritional content.
- These nutrients may or may not have been originally present in the food before processing.
Fortification of Rice
- According to the Food Ministry, fortification of rice is a cost-effective and complementary strategy to increase vitamin and mineral content in diets.
News Source: TH