Cabinet Approves Distribution of Fortified Rice with Govt Schemes, to Spend Rs 2,700 Crore Per Year

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CCEA Meet Today: The government on Friday announced that the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved a proposal to distribute fortified rice through several government schemes by 2024. FCI and state agencies have already procured 88.65 LMT of fortified rice for supply and distribution, Union minister Anurag Thakur said on Friday in a press briefing.

News18.com had on Thursday confirmed regarding the development in its own report. The Union minister on Friday in the press briefing announced that fortified rice will be distributed through PDS and other government schemes in three phases. The entire cost of rice fortification (around Rs. 2,700 crore per annum) would be borne by the Centre as part of food subsidy till its full implementation up to June 2024.

Fortified rice will be provided through Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), PM POSHAN and Other Welfare Schemes (OWS) of the government, a press release noted.

Through this decision, the government plans to make fortified rice available at ration shops, Thakur said. The target to achieve this is by March 2024, he said, adding that fortified rice will also be provided under PM-POSHAN scheme in three phases.

Phase-I will be focussed on covering ICDS and PM POSHAN in India all over by March, 2022 which is under implementation. Phase-II will include the plans under Phase I plus TPDS and OWS in all aspirational and high burden districts on stunting (total 291 districts) by March 2023. Under Phase III of the system, the the remaining districts of the country will be covered by March 2024.

“As part of vigorous implementation efforts, the Department of Food and Public distribution has been coordinating all ecosystem related activities with all relevant stakeholders like state government / UT, line ministries/department, development partners, industries, research institutes etc,” the press release noted.

On August 15 last year, that is on Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced that the government will fortify the rice distributed to the poor via different schemes in a bid to provide nutrition to every poor person of the country to overcome malnutrition and lack of essential nutrients in women, children, lactating mothers etc. as it poses major obstacles in their development.

Thakur on Friday traced the prime minister’s steps to say that the government was following his orders amid reports of malnutrition in women and children.

Earlier, the Centrally Sponsored Pilot Scheme on “Fortification of Rice and its Distribution under Public Distribution System” was implemented for a period of 3 years beginning from 2019-20. As many as 11 states had successfully distributed the fortified rice in their identified districts (one district per state) under the pilot scheme. These states include Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jharkhand.

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