In order to address the issue of malnutrition among the poor, Centre on Friday said it will supply fortified rice through government schemes such as PDS and PM-POSHAN in three phases by 2024, a move that will cost the central exchequer Rs 2,700 crore per year.
A decision in this regard was taken at the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Fortified rice is made as per the standards fixed by the food regulator FSSAI which has prescribed blending rice with three micronutrients -- Iron, Folic Acid and Vitamin B12.
Briefing media about the decisions, I&B Minister Anurag Thakur said the CCEA has approved distribution of fortified rice in a phased manner through PDS, Integrated Child Development Services, PMPoshan Shakti Nirman-PM POSHAN (erstwhile Mid-Day Meal Scheme) and other welfare schemes. With the approval, the regular implementation of the programme starts now as the cost of fortification would be borne as part of the food subsidy bill, Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey said.
Further, Pandey said the cost of rice fortification is estimated to be Rs 2,700 crore per annum.
The second phase will cover targeted public distribution system and other welfare schemes in all aspirational and high-burden districts on stunting by March 2023. In the final phase, all remaining districts will be covered by March 2024.
Cabinet approves distribution of fortified rice across schemes