Urging the people not to believe in ‘misinformation’ spread on fortified rice, the Food Corporation of India (FCI) has explained that the welfare scheme was introduced by the Union government to check the incidence of nutrient deficiencies in children.
FCI DGM Ashish Tak, DGM (General) Jayaprasad, AGM (Quality Control) Manoj Kumar, FCI Manager B. Ragal Kiran and others addressed a media conference at the FCI Office at Tadepalli in Guntur district on Monday. They observed that there are misconceptions and misinformation on the fortified rice, which is being supplied under the PM Poshan scheme.
Mr. Manoj Kumar said that rice was being fortified using extrusion technology. “In this technology, milled rice is pulverised and mixed with a premix containing iron, folic acid and Vitamin B12. The rice is simple and cost-effective. The culturally appropriate strategy makes the rice more nutritious to address anaemia and micro-nutrient deficiencies. The Union Ministry of Food launched the distribution of fortified rice for 11.80 crore children under the Mid-Day Meals (MDM) scheme and 13.97 lakh anganwadi centres under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme for the 2021-22 financial year across the country,” he said.
In Andhra Pradesh, fortified rice was distributed to 17 lakh children under the MDM scheme and to 55,607 anganwadi centres under ICDS scheme during the period.
Mr. Jayaprasad said that the distribution of fortified rice began in the second quarter of the 2021-22 financial year on a pilot basis and efforts were put in for allocation of fortified rice to all States and UTs to meet the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) requirements.
He said campaigns were organised at various levels especially at ICDS centres, educational institutions in all districts across the State to create awareness on the usage of fortified rice.
The FIC Andhra Pradesh region has been transporting food grains from Kakinada and Vizag ports to Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Port Blair through Multi Modal Transport Contract (MMTC) to meet the requirement under various welfare schemes.
Under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) scheme, the aggregated allocation of food grains is about 1121 lakh metric tonne, Mr. Jayaprasad said. So far, the PMGKAY has completed six phases between April 2020 to September 2022 and the seventh phase is being implemented from October 2022 to December 2022. As a part of this scheme, 5 kg food grains per person per month is provided free of cost to the beneficiaries under National Food Security Act (NFSA).