Daily Current Affairs for UPSC

Rice Fortification

Syllabus- GS Paper, Science and technology)

 Context-  According to the United Nations report, India’s pilot studies on rice fortification showed that the nutritional anemia could be reduced with a significant drop and its prevalence among school children

 Key highlights: 

  • The studies involved large-scale pilots in different parts of the country, three in the school lunch and one in the Integrated Child Development Scheme(ICDS).
  •  The pilot studies according to the UN demonstrated that rice fortification could be rolled out through existing social assistance distribution systems and the costs could be lowered through economies of scale.
  •  The government in 2021 had declared that over 80 core people will be fed with fortified rice to combat anaemia and other micronutrient deficiency diseases.

 What is Rice fortification?

  •   Rice fortification is a process of adding FSSAI prescribed micronutrients to rice kernels like Iron, folic acid and vitamin B12 to normal rice in the ratio of 1: 1000 at the time of milling and polishing  of rice at rice mills.
  •  The fortified rice is identical to the traditional rice in taste, aroma and texture but has higher vitamins and minerals as compared to the same amount of traditional rice.
  •  Fortified rice is a cost-effective way to increase nutritional security and mineral content in poor diets of the Indians to control malnutrition.
  •  Rice being the staple food of 65% of the Indian population and reaching the most vulnerable and poor sections and highest uptake  in the government safety net programmes, its fortification has the highest potential to fill the gap in current stale food fortification programmes.
  •  The rice fortification involves an extrusion technology wherein milled broken rice kernels are pulverized and mixed with a premix of vitamins and minerals. 

 About Anaemia

  •  Anemia is a condition wherein the red blood cells of the blood  are less in count and hence less hemoglobin to carry oxygen to tissues and cells.
  •  Iron deficiency is the major cause of anemia. There are various types of anaemia: Iron deficiency, sickle cell anemia, aplastic anemia, hemolytic anemia ,vitamin deficiency anemia. 
  • Tiredness, cold hands and feet, pale skin and eyes, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat are some common symptoms.
  •  The  government has been promoting the  Anaemia mukt bharat, an iron plus initiative to foster strategies to tackle anemia.
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