To initiate the process of taking the country towards nutritional security, Department of Food & Public Distribution (DFPD) has been running a “Centrally Sponsored Pilot Scheme on Fortification of Rice & its distribution through Public Distribution System”.
The Pilot Scheme has been approved for a period of three years beginning 2019-2020 with a total budget outlay of Rs 174.6 crore. Fifteen state governments have identified their respective districts (1 district per state) for implementing the pilot scheme.
Already 5 states of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Chhattisgarh have started the distribution of fortified rice in their respective identified districts.
The objective of this scheme is to start pilot projects in States and Union Territories with rice consumption (in Districts with prevalence of micronutrient deficiency).
The Food Corporation of India (FCI) has been asked to come up with a comprehensive plan for procurement and distribution of fortified rice in all the districts of the country under Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) & Mid-Day Meal (MDM) Scheme from 2021-2022. Special focus would be placed on supplying fortified rice to the 112 specially identified aspirational districts of the country.
Further, there is a need to scale up supply of Fortified Rice Kernels (FRK), whose availability is currently is at a meagre quantity of 15,000 MT per annum. Covering 112 aspirational districts for PDS, ICDS and MDM would mean requirement of nearly 130 Lakh MT of fortified rice, for which FRK supply capacity in the country needs to go up to nearly 1.3 Lakh MT.
If the entire PDS (NFSA) rice supply which is of the order of about 350 Lakh MT is to be fortified, then there has to be an uninterrupted supply pipeline of FRK from the industry of the order of about 3.5 Lakh MT.
Further, there are nearly 28,000 rice mills in the country which need to be equipped with blending machines etc. for mixing of FRK with normal rice. FCI has been asked to tie up with the rice mills in different regions for necessary investments in this regard. The operational readiness of the FCI would help in successful scaling up of procurement and supply of fortified rice in a phased manner from 2021-2022 onwards.