Nov 03: To initiate the process of taking the country towards nutritional security, the 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.
In this connection, the Union Minister for Food & Consumer Affairs, Railways, Commerce and Industry Shri Piyush Goyal in his review meeting held on 31.10.2020, laid the emphasis on scaling up of the distribution of fortified rice in the country. A further meeting was also chaired by the Secretary, DFPD, on 02.11.2020, in which the 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.
In this regard, CEO, NITI Aayog also discussed the progress and way ahead to scale up the rice fortification scheme with Secretary, Department of Food & Public Distribution, CEO, FSSAI and other stakeholders, like Tata Trust, World Food Programme, PATH, Nutrition International etc. today. The supply chain and other logistic requirements to scale up the scheme of “Rice fortification and its distribution” to cover the Integrated Child Development Scheme /Mid Day Meal scheme in Aspirational districts in the country at the first instance was discussed.
For realizing the above goal, there is a need to scale up the supply of Fortified Rice Kernels (FRK), whose availability is currently is at a meager quantity of 15,000 MT per annum. Covering 112 Aspirational Districts for PDS, ICDS and MDM would mean a 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 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 the successful scaling up of procurement and supply of fortified rice in a phased manner from 2021-2022 onwards.