The ministry said that fortification of rice has been adopted by seven countries including the US since 1958. Photo credit: V. Raju
The Union Food Ministry on Friday refuted the allegation of the opposition Congress that fortified rice was being distributed through fair price shops despite several warnings by experts and institutions such as the NITI Aayog and the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). Is.
A spokesperson of the ministry said that NITI Aayog is actively engaged in running the scheme. He said, ‘There is no basis in these reports that NITI Aayog has taken a stand against fortified rice.’
evaluation in progress
The ministry has been citing various studies to show that consumption of fortified rice significantly improved hemoglobin levels and reduced the prevalence of anaemia. The ministry said fortification of rice has been adopted by seven countries including the US since 1958. “Concurrent evaluation is being done by NITI Aayog in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research. An evaluation study of some pilot districts is also underway,” said the official.
Meanwhile, the Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA) said in a statement that the Centre, in a unilateral decision, is supplying iron-fortified rice to public safety net programs like the PDS, mid-day meals and anganwadis. Crores of Indians. “These are mostly poor citizens who depend on state-subsidised food and for whom iron-fortified rice has become essential as they cannot afford to buy other (non-fortified) rice in the open market. The program expanded before a pilot scheme was completed, or independently and rigorously evaluated, in 15 states. These pilots were to be evaluated in late 2022 as per an RTI response by the government,” the statement said.