Don’t mistake fortified rice for ‘plastic rice’ , says Civil Supplies Minister

August 11, 2023 07:27 am | Updated 07:27 am IST - VIJAYAWADA

Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs minister Karumuri Venkata Nageswara Rao  showing quality rice at the press conference in Vijayawada Thursday.

Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs minister Karumuri Venkata Nageswara Rao showing quality rice at the press conference in Vijayawada Thursday. | Photo Credit: G.N. RAO

Minister for Civil Supplies Karumuri Venkata Nageswara Rao on Thursday said fortified rice would be supplied in all the districts across the State from September.

At a press conference, the Minister said the Government would distribute fortified rice through the Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-Day-Meal (MDM) and Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme.

The Minister explained that fortified rice was a healthier option and that it should not be mistaken for ‘plastic rice’. “Essential vitamins and minerals are added to the grain, enhancing its nutritious value. Essential components like vitamin A, vitamin B12, vitamin B1, iron, zinc and folic acid are added during the fortification process,” he said.

Elaborating further, he said the fortification process was done by mixing fortified rice kernels (FRKs) in a 1:100 ratio with regular rice. He said this rice would benefit specifically pregnant women, nursing mothers and children.

The Minister said the initiative was part of Chief Minister Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy’s keen interest to achieve the goal of “health for all” but “unfortunately, there is a misinformation campaign on the social media platforms where the it is being dubbed as ‘plastic rice’.”

Informing that the distribution process was started in Uttarandhra and Rayalaseema districts as a pilot project, he said Andhra Pradesh was at the forefront to take up distribution of fortified rice through PDS, in the country. From this month, he said 3 kgs of nutritional rice packets were being distributed to pregnant and lactating women through ICDS under the home ration scheme.

Admitting the need to spread awareness on the quality and nutritional value of the fortified rice, he said posters were designed and videos with popular sportsperson P.V. Sindhu would be promoted to scale up awareness.

In a demonstration to prove that it was not plastic rice, the Minister put drops of iodine on the rice, which turned blue in colour. “If it is plastic, the colour of the rice kernels will not change,” he said, adding that the fortified rice also softened quickly when soaked in water, which would not be the case with plastic.

He said in Rayalaseema districts, ragi (finger millets) and maize was also being distributed through PDS and soon, they would be supplied across the State. He said in the ensuing season, the government had set a target to procure 50 lakh metric tonnes of foodgrains and that the middlemen would have no role in purchase of the foodgrains from farmers.

Commissioner, Department of Civil Supplies H. Arun Kumar and others were present.

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