In News: Centre begins supply of fortified rice in 90 districts from April 1
- The Centre has started distribution of fortified rice through ration shops from April 1 in some 90-odd districts out of 291 targeted for the entire year under phase II of PM-POSHAN Abhiyan
- The first phase was launched in October 2021 under which fortified rice was supplied through Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and Pradhan Mantri Poshan Shakti Nirman-PM POSHAN
- Fortified rice is made as per the standards fixed by the food safety regulator FSSAI, which has prescribed blending rice with three micronutrients – Iron, Folic Acid and Vitamin B12.
Need for rice fortification
- India has very high levels of malnutrition among women and children. According to the Food Ministry, every second woman in the country is anemic and every third child is stunted.
- Malnutrition costs India at least ₹77,000 crore annually in terms of lost productivity, illness and death.
- The country loses about 1 per cent of GDP (₹2.03 lakh crore) due to iron deficiency
- One rupee spent on nutritional interventions in India could generate ₹34.1-Rs 38.6 in public economic returns
- Rice is one of India’s staple foods, consumed by about two-thirds of the population. Per capita rice consumption in India is 6.8 kg per month. Therefore, fortifying rice with micronutrients is an option to supplement the diet of the poor.
- POSHAN Abhiyaan is the flagship program to improve nutritional outcomes for children, pregnant women, and lactating mothers in India.
- It is also called the National Nutrition Mission.
Salient Features of the POSHAN Abhiyan
- The POSHAN (Prime Minister’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nutrition) Abhiyaan spreads awareness towards the problems pertaining to malnutrition and brings viable solutions with it.
- Implementation status reports of the Abhiyaan are submitted by NITI Aayog every six months.
- The implementation of POSHAN Abhiyaan is carried out through the Technical Support Unit (TSU) established at NITI Aayog, which will also provide research, policy, and technical support for the program.
- As the mission is expected to eradicate malnutrition by 2022, it has been taken up by multiple ministries. This helps in expanding the outreach of the mission and thereby facilitating its implementation.
- Some specific targets of the program are reducing stunting, anemia, under-nutrition, and low birth weight.
Specific Targets of the POSHAN Abhiyan
The POSHAN Abhiyan aims to target the following specifically:
- Reduce stunting by 2% annually.
- Reduce under-nutrition by 2% annually.
- Reduce anemia by 3% annually.
- Reduce low birth weight by 2% annually.
Source: Business Line
Previous Year Questions
Q.1) Genetically modified “golden rice” has been engineered to meet human nutritional requirements. Which one of the following statements best qualifies golden rice? (2010)
- The grains have been fortified with genes to provide three times higher grain yield per acre than other high yielding varieties.
- Its grains contain pro-vitamin A which upon ingestion is converted to vitamin A in the human body.
- Its modified genes cause the synthesis of all the nine essential amino acids.
- Its modified genes cause the fortification of its grains with vitamin D.