BY D.CHANDRABHASKAR RAO
The State is fully equipped to deliver fortified rice as per specifications of the Food Corporation of India. In all, 2760 mills have installed the blending infrastructure to supply fortified rice in a very short span of time, according to officials of the Civil Supplies Corporation.
The State has made it clear that if any of the miller was keen on participating in the customized milling rice (CMR) delivery process, the installation of blending machinery was mandatory. It is a country-wide exercise intended to address issues such as anemia and micro-nutrient deficiency.
As part of the centrally sponsored pilot scheme, fortification of rice and its distribution under the Public Distribution System was initiated from 2019-2020. It would be extended to every Social Safety Net Scheme of the Centre throughout the country by 2024.
What is rice fortification?
Fortification is the process of adding Fortified Rice Kernels (FRK) containing FSSAI prescribed micronutrients (Iron, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12) to normal rice (Custom Milled Rice) in the ratio of 1:100 (Mixing 1 Kg of FRK with 100 Kg custom milled rice).
The State has delivered over 77 lakh metric tonnes of fortified rice so far since the Kharif Marketing Season 2022-23. All deliveries from August last were only of fortified rice. The Centre has been updating the States from time to time on the modifications being made in the scheme while carrying forward the initiative.
It has been modifying the standard operation procedures (SOP) as required to complete tasks in accordance with norms. The Civil Supplies Corporation has been delivering only fortified rice from August 2023. However the supplies made to meet the needs of the welfare hostels is an exception.
The quantity supplied to the hostels will be in the order of some 8000 metric tonnes per month. As desired by the government, fine rice of top quality stocks have been kept apart to meet the needs of the hostels. Some bottom line issues of the rice fortification scheme are yet to be addressed by the Centre.
Stocks of fortified rice procured by the FCI from the State’s millers at a few centres were rejected after an inspection conducted by Central teams in June and July last on the plea that blending of micronutrients with rice was not done as prescribed. The fate of such rejected stocks is yet to be decided by the government agencies.
2760 mills have installed blending facilities. Blending infrastructure made mandatory for CMR millers. State started 100% fortified rice delivery since August Over 77 lakh metric tonnes of fortified rice delivered so far 10,000 metric tonnes rejected by FCI after inspection.
This article has been republished from The Telangana Today.