A total of 269 districts in 27 states have started distributing fortified rice under Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS), achieving a 100% target set for Phase II by March 2023 in Rice Fortification Programme, informed Shri Sanjeev Chopra, Secretary Department of Food and Public Distribution while addressing media persons here today.
He added that about 105 LMT of Fortified Rice was lifted by Phase II targeted 27 States/UTs for PDS distribution. In addition, about 29 LMT was lifted by the States/UTs under ICDS and PM POSHAN in Phase II, making a total of about 134 LMT fortified rice lifted in the FY 2022-23. Now under Phase III, the department is geared to complete the coverage of all remaining districts excluding wheat-consuming ones before the targeted date of March 2024.
Phase-I covered ICDS and PM POSHAN. It was implemented during 2021-22 and nearly 17.51 LMT had been distributed in the States/UTs.
Consequent to the announcement by the Hon’ble PM in his address on the 75th Independence Day (15th August 2021) for supplying Fortified Rice in every Social Safety Net Scheme of the Government of India throughout the country by 2024 in a phased manner, steady progress has been made during the last two years.
Meanwhile, the number of rice mills having blending infrastructure has increased from 2690 to 18227 from August 2021 to March 2023 with more than 11 times increase in cumulative blending capacity from 13.67 LMT to 156 LMT.
The cumulative annual Fortified Rice Kernel (FRK) manufacturing capacity has increased more than 18 folds from 0.9 LMT (34 FRK Manufacturing) in August 2021to 17 LMT (More than 400 FRK manufacturers).
FSSAI notified, NABL accredited Labs for testing of fortificants have increased to 48 from 20 in August 2021. FCI and State agencies of DCP states have been procuring fortified rice since KMS 2020-21 and nearly 217 LMT of fortified rice is currently available as on 19th March 2023 with the FCI/states.
The Department has also developed Standard Operating Procedure (SoP) for adherence of Quality Assurance (QA) & Quality Control (QC) protocols on the production and distribution of fortified rice/ FRKs.
FSSAI the regulatory/licensing authority for food fortification, has drafted Standards for FRK, Pre-mix and provided the direction to all the stakeholders for operationalization of draft standards with immediate effect.
Continuous efforts are being made to educate the public about the nutritional benefits of fortified rice through IEC campaigns, involving FSSAI, experts and Development Partners.