• Saying malnutrition poses “major obstacles” in the development of women and children, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced during his Independence Day speech on August 15th that the fortification of rice distributed under various government schemes, including the Public Distribution System (PDS) and mid-day meals in schools would be mandatory by 2024. WFP has been leading the work on rice fortification in the country for several years and the announcement was indeed historic and will certainly contribute to the reduction of micronutrient malnutrition, especially for the nearly 1 billion most vulnerable people who are targeted by these programmes.
Ensuring Access to Food
• Using the retail commodity price data from the Price Monitoring Division of the Department of Consumer Affairs in New Delhi, WFP developed a Management Information System (MIS) that allows users to easily analyse and monitor changes in commodity prices by type and location. The dashboard is in the process of being handed over to the Department and can be found at this link.
• More than 1 mt of food grains have been distributed using WFP’s Annapurti (automated grain dispensing machine) which is being piloted in one Fair Price Shop in Haryana state, targeting beneficiaries of the Government’s COVID-19 response scheme which provides 5 kgs of grains per person, each month. WFP will be piloting another Grain ATM in Odisha next month.
• For the Government of Rajasthan, WFP has developed a GPS-enabled tracking system for monitoring the movement of food grains from warehouses to Fair Price Shops using mobile devices. The system will be piloted in Alwar District next month.
• WFP recently rolled out the Food Safety and Hygiene application for school cooks in Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh) and Dhenkanal (Odisha) districts. This included the distribution of android tablets to school representatives. The application will be used by school cooks and helpers in 350 schools in these states during the pilot phase.
• WFP supported decentralized take home ration (THR) production units in Uttar Pradesh continue to regularly produce fortified blended foods and distribute THR among beneficiaries covered under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS).