GS Paper - 3 (Biotechnology)

Prime Minister on 15 August 2021 announced that the government will fortify the rice distributed to the poor via different schemes such as Midday Meal in a bid to address the problem of malnutrition. Malnutrition and lack of micro-nutrients are affecting the growth of poor children. Looking at this, it has been decided to fortify the rice given to the poor via different government schemes, PM said in his Independence Day speech.

What

  1. The PM said whether through ration shops or the Midday Meal scheme, the rice made available under every government programme will be fortified by the year 2024.
  2. Currently, out of the 15 states identified for the 'Central scheme on fortified rice and its distribution via public distribution system (PDS)', five are implementing it in one district each on a pilot basis.
  3. Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Chhattisgarh have started distributing fortified rice -- mixed with nutrients -- in their respective identified districts.

Flashback

  1. Fortifying rice involves grinding broken rice into powder, mixing it with nutrients, and then shaping it into rice-like kernels using an extrusion process.
  2. These fortified kernels are then mixed with normal rice in 1:100 ratios, and distributed for consumption.
  3. Currently, there are only 15,000 tonnes of these kernels available per year in the country.