VIJAYAWADA: The fortified rice being supplied to the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) through Anganwadi centres is aimed to deal with malnutrition and other related ailments in infants and lactating mothers, said the officials of Food Corporation of India (FCI).
The deputy general manager Ashish Tak explained that the concept of fortified rice is to reduce the consumption of medicinal supplements by the children and lactating mothers and keep them healthy. “Under PM’s POSHAN, Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) and other welfare schemes, the central government has approved the supply of fortified rice to children and mothers.
It is a complementary strategy to increase vitamin and mineral content in diets with low turnaround time (TAT) and a step towards nutritional security to fight anemia and malnutrition,” said the DGM Ashish. He further explained that Fortified Rice Kernels (FRK), developed with the help of National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) containing FSSAI prescribed micronutrients (Iron, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12), will be added to normal rice (Custom Milled Rice) in the ratio of 1:100. “For 1 kg of FRK, 100 kg custom milled rice will be added,” he said.
“A misconception is being aired claiming the fortified rice to be plastic rice. In Andhra Pradesh alone, fortified rice has been distributed to 17 lakh children under mid-day meals, 55,607 Anganwadi centres through ICDS for the year 2021-22. Few studies have reported that fortification of rice with iron is beneficial in improving haemoglobin levels and reducing the levels of anaemia. Rice is a good delivery vehicle for iron since close to 70 per cent of the population in our country eats rice,” he maintained.
Other FCI officials said 36.37 lakh metric tonnes of rice has been supplied under Prime Minister Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) in seven phases from April 2020 to December 2022. “A total of 1,121 lakh metric tonnes of food grains were allotted for the successful implementation of PMGKAY across the country. So far, FCI has supplied food grains to more than 3.8 crore households in the state. The food grains we are procuring from farmers are being tested thoroughly and been sent to various labs for maintaining quality,” assistant general manager (quality control) Manoj Kumar said.
The FCI manager (Tadepalli) B Ragal Kiran said the FCI unit of the State is functioning with 24 field depots including one at Andaman and Nicobar islands with a storage capacity of 7,00,466 metric tonnes. “Now, it has reached 8,71,082 metric tonnes after reassessment of the storage capacity. 21 out of total 24 depots completed its Warehousing Development and Regulatory Authority (WDRA) inspection. FCI is implementing an e-office to conduct the office procedure electronically to enhance transparency, accountability, data security and data integrity,” he said.