Lucknow: In a first-of-its-kind initiative to ensure food and nutritional security, the Yogi Adityanath government has taken up a project to distribute fortified rice through the public distribution system in Uttar Pradesh.
The fortified rice will added food and nutritional supplements and sufficient quantity of iron, zinc, vitamins A and B, Vitamin B12, folic acid and other micronutrients.
The programme has been launched virtually from Chandauli, one of the aspirational districts in UP.
All ration shops in Chandauli will distribute fortified rice from February while the entire state will be covered by the year-end.
To ensure that fortified rice becomes part of the diet of the people due to its nutritional value, the state will create public awareness in which their representatives will also be asked to participate.
The Chief Minister has directed for the appointment o nodal officers to ensure proper promotion of fortified rice and to check black marketing.
The rice will be distributed through ration shops, where people avail of subsidised food grains.
Rice is one of the favourite diets of Indians, with the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) saying that about 65 per cent people make rice an essential part of their food.
The authorities believe that fortified rice will play an important role in fighting malnutrition in India.
Nearly 59 per cent children in the age group of 6 months to 5 years, 53 per cent women in the age group of 15 to 50 and 22 per cent men in the age group of 15 to 50 are deficient in iron and micronutrients.
Fortified rice is normal rice but coated with required amounts of iron, vitamins and micronutrients. Millers will also benefit by processing this rice. The endeavour 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 its demand increase. The local farmers will also benefit in terms of increased income.