The rice will be distributed through ration shops, where people avail of subsidised food grains.
To ensure food and nutritional security in the state, the UP government has tasked itself with the distribution of fortified rice through the public distribution system. This first-of-its-kind initiative has been launched virtually from Chandauli, which is one of the aspirational districts in UP. The fortified rice will have added food and nutritional supplements along with sufficient quantity of iron, zinc, vitamins A and B, Vitamin B12, folic acid and other micronutrients. The rice will be distributed through ration shops, where people avail of subsidised food grains.
Nodal officers to be appointed, to guarantee the proper promotion of fortified rice
February onwards, all the ration shops in Chandauli will distribute fortified rice while the entire state will be covered by the year-end. Further to make sure that fortified rice becomes part of the diet of the residents due to its nutritional value, the state will take steps towards public awareness in which their representatives will be asked to participate. The CM has also issued instructions for the appointment of nodal officers, who would guarantee the proper promotion of fortified rice and keep a check on black marketing of the product.
But what are the benefits of this variant of rice?
Fortified rice is regular rice but coated with required amounts of iron, vitamins and micronutrients. Millers are all set to benefit from processing this rice and the venture will also help generate employment at the local level in the MSME sector. Along with this, 'Kala Namak' rice of Siddhartha Nagar, which is rich in zinc and iron, will also gain popularity and will see a surge in demand. Even the local farmers will benefit in terms of increased income, reportedly.
As per NSSO, for about 65% of the people, rice is an essential part of their diet
Nearly 59% children falling in the age bracket of 6 months to 5 years, 53% of women in the age group of 15 to 50 and 22% men in the confines of 15 to 50, are deficient in iron and micronutrients, according to official data. As per the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), for about 65% of the people, rice is an essential part of their diet. The authorities are hopeful that fortified rice will play an important role in fighting malnutrition in the state and the country, as a whole.