Fortified rice will now be available in public distribution system shops in Jharkhand, read what experts say

Jharkhand government fortified through PDS in 24 districts to tackle malnutrition and anemia among women and children in the state rice A program to distribute is all set to begin. Officials gave this information on Sunday. However, food rights activists raised concerns over the ‘Rice Fortification Scheme (RFS)’, alleging that the health effects of consumption of fortified rice, especially on people suffering from thalassemia and sickle cell anemia diseases, were not studied properly. has not been done.

The director of the state’s Food and Public Distribution Department, Dilip Tirkey, told PTI that they are waiting for the government’s official letter to launch the scheme. He said that this is part of a national program. We are ready to implement this scheme in 24 districts of Jharkhand. Blending units have been set up in 44 plants out of 65 rice mills in the state.

Rice unit to be set up

Dilip Tirkey said that blending units will be set up in all the mills in a phased manner. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has defined fortification as the intentional increase in the content of essential micronutrients in food to improve the nutritional quality of food and provide public health benefits with minimal risk to health. The Jharkhand cabinet on September 1 approved the program for distribution of fortified rice, a mixture of iron, folic acid and vitamin B12 among the beneficiaries enrolled under the National Food Security Scheme through the Public Distribution System.

Helpful in fighting malnutrition

Tirkey said the main objective of the program is to fight chronic malnutrition and anemia in the state. According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5), around 39.6 per cent children below five years of age in Jharkhand are stunted, indicating that they are malnourished. According to the survey, 65.3 percent of women in the age group of 15 to 49 years in Jharkhand and 67.5 percent of children between six and 59 months are anemic.

Pilot project was started in Chakulia

The department had last year launched a pilot scheme for nine months in two blocks of East Singhbhum district—Dhalbhumgarh and Chakulia. has expressed.

Survey done on fortified rice

To find out the impact of fortified rice on people in the blocks where the pilot project was implemented, two civil society organizations – Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA-Kisan Swaraj) and the Right to Food Campaign – launched a campaign . The study found “violation of government guidelines for distribution of fortified rice because health department officials were not involved in the program”, claimed rights activists

What do experts say

Balram, a member of the Right to Food Campaign, told PTI, “The Centre’s rules say that patients with sickle cell anemia and thalassemia should not consume iron-rich food. But, we found that no separate arrangement was made for such beneficiaries in the PDS store. The PDS dealers, frontline office bearers and elected representatives of the two blocks were not aware of the various aspects of fortified rice, he said, adding that several doctors expressed their concern over the implementation of the scheme.

Workshop will be organized on 16 September

The Department of Food and Public Distribution has decided to organize a workshop on the issues raised by NGOs on September 16 at Jamshedpur. The workshop has been invited to throw light on various issues.

Five lakh beneficiaries will be added

National Food Security Act (NFSA) was implemented in the state on 1st October 2015, under this scheme about 57 lakh families covering 2.63 crore people, about 80 percent population of Jharkhand has been provided rice at Re 1 per kg. . The state government had also launched the Jharkhand State Food Security Scheme under which 15 lakh people who were deprived of NFSA have been enrolled. The government has recently decided to add five lakh more beneficiaries under the state scheme.

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