Kerala excludes people with bloodborne diseases from scheme to distribute fortified rice

Representative image | Photo: Mathrubhumi

Thiruvananthapuram: The state government will ensure the supply of fortified rice through public distribution systems after excluding a selected group of people from the scheme, Kerala Minister for Food and Civil Supplies, GR Anil, informed the union government during a meeting of state ministers.

According to the findings of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS), the number of anaemic patients has gone up in Kerala. The minister told the union government that arrangements have been made to distribute this rice to meet the nutritional needs of women and children in Wayanad.

However, the rice will not be given to those ailing from Sickle Cell Anaemia (SCA) and Thalassemia. Stunting and heart diseases are some of the possibilities of unmonitored intake in individuals affected with SCA and Thalassemia.

The state needs 14.21 lakh metric tonnes of rice for public distribution. Out of this, 5 lakh metric tonnes is produced by the state and the rest is imported. Fortified rice is also being imported. The distribution of fortified rice will be for free during the first two years and for a price after that.

This scheme was first implemented by the union government for three years in 11 districts in the country in 2019 to increase vitamin and mineral content in diets with low turnaround time and as a step towards nutritional security that helps in fighting anaemia and malnutrition in the country. However, some have raised concerns over the project.

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