The government is planning to introduce fortified rations (vitamin and supplement added wheat and rice) across 118 districts of the country under the NITI Aayog-designed National Nutrition Mission.
The NITI Aayog and the union food ministry are planning a National Nutrition Mission with an objective of improving nutrition that women and children get in the country.
The government is planning to introduce fortified rations (vitamin and supplement added wheat and rice) to 118 districts in the country, as part of the the mission's first initiative.
The districts selected for the first phase are areas with a set of 49 low-baseline socio-economic indicators like nutrition, overall health, education and infrastructure.
Iron and folic acid are the two main ingredients that will be added to the food grains. Fortification norms will be in accordance with the specifications laid down by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
Currently, the public distribution system is managed by the Food Corporation of India, which gets paddy milled by rice mills before distribution. These mills will now be replaced with fortification machines to supply nutrient-enhanced grains.
According to a report by The Hindustan Times, the Cabinet had cleared the National Nutrition Mission in December 2017 and has also set aside a three-year budget of Rs 9,046.17 crore.
According to the National Family Health Survey was conducted in 2015-16, around 35.7 percent of the children in India below the age of five are underweight.
Around 38.4 percent of the children in the same age group are stunted, meaning, they have low height for their age, the report adds.
The mission will target reduction in the stunting levels and will help children facing under-nutrition, low birth weight and anaemia.
A National Council on Nutrition has been formed under the chairmanship of NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar for the mission. This council will report to Prime Minister Narendra Modi every six months, the report suggests.