Leh, April 08: The Principal Secretary, Health and Medical Education Department, Dr. Pawan Kotwal chaired a meeting in his office chamber to review the progress on ‘Food Fortification’ in UT Ladakh. Welcoming the Union Cabinet’s decision to distribute fortified rice under all government schemes, the Principal Secretary said that it would help to tackle the issue of nutritional deficiency among the population.
In the meeting, Senior Advisor, Food Fortification Resource Centre (FFRC) – FSSAI, Vivek Arora apprised the Principal Secretary that aspirational districts in addition to Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) and Mid-Day Meal (MDM) Scheme would now be covered under the Public Distribution System Scheme too for fortified rice. Regarding the supply of fortified wheat, Senior Advisor, Vivek Arora informed the Principal Secretary that a development organisation would support Ladakh by handholding the flour mills in the Union Territory and ensuring that the right quality of flour is fortified.
Fortification is a procedure through which vital micronutrients such as iron, zinc, and vitamin A are added to the food to enhance the nutritional quality, aimed at improving public health. Earlier, in a survey conducted by the National Family Health Survey (NFHS), almost 90 percent of the population in Ladakh was found to be anaemic.
Principal Secretary directed that a circular be issued advising the public to consume double fortified salt, rice, milk, and oil and asked for its wide publicity. Additionally, he directed concerned officials to issue a circular re-enforcing Food Civil Supplies & Public Distribution and School Education Departments to use double fortified salt, milk, and oil in ICDS and MDM schemes.
The meeting was attended by the Administrative Secretary, Food, Civil Supplies, Consumer Affairs, Mehboob Ali Khan; Senior Advisor, Food Fortification Resource Center- FSSAI, Vivek Arora; Director School Education, Dr. Safdar Ali; Director Social Welfare, Kunzes Angmo; Director of Food Civil Supplies & Public Distribution, Tsering Motup; Assistant Commissioner Food Safety Leh, Thamchos Gurmet; and Manager Food Corporation of India (FCI), Shakil.