Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
- More children to get fortified rice
The issue in news
The government is planning to distribute fortified rice to children in anganwadis and government schools.
- The rice would be infused (fortified) with iron, folic acid and vitamin B-12.
- The government is planning to distribute fortified rice through the Integrated Child Development Services and Mid-Day Meal schemes across the country.
- An existing pilot scheme to distribute fortified rice through the Public Distribution System in 15 districts has only been implemented in five districts so far, despite the lapse in more than half the project duration.
- The Centrally sponsored pilot scheme was approved in February 2019.
- Only Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Chhattisgarh have started distribution of fortified rice in their identified pilot districts.
- The food ministry said that it would lay special focus on 112 aspirational districts.
- The Food Corporation of India has been asked to come up with a comprehensive plan to scale up the annual supply of fortified rice from the current 15,000 tonnes to at least 1.3 lakh tonnes.
Fortification of Rice:
- Fortification is the practice of deliberately increasing the content of an essential micronutrient, i.e. vitamins and minerals (including trace elements) in food, so as to improve the nutritional quality of the food supply.
- Generally, fortified rice contains Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B12, Folic Acid, Iron and Zinc.
- Fortifying rice involves grinding broken rice into powder, mixing it with nutrients, and then shaping it into rice-like kernels using an extrusion process.
- These fortified kernels are then mixed with normal rice in a 1:100 ratio, and distributed for consumption.
- Currently, there are only 15,000 tonnes of these kernels available per year in India.
Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
- Indian Navy matches skills with three foreign fleets off Vizag
The issue in news
Phase I of the Malabar 2020 naval exercise by India, Australia, Japan and the U.S. has begun off the coast of Visakhapatnam in the Bay of Bengal.
- Exercise Malabar is an important opportunity to work in concert with like-minded nations to support a secure, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.
- This is the first time Australia has joined Malabar since 2007.
- This is the 24th edition of the exercise that began in 1992.
- This time, it is being held in two phases, in the Bay of Bengal and in the Arabian Sea.
- The four Navies would conduct a range of high-end training, including air-defence and anti-submarine exercises, aviation, communications and at-sea replenishment between ships.
The Navy began Mission Sagar-II.
- Under the mission, INS Airavat entered the Sudan port carrying 100 tonnes of food.
- Mission Sagar-II is a follow-up of Mission Sagar undertaken in May-June 2020, during which India delivered food and medicines to the Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar and Comoros.
Category: ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
- Sri Lanka rescues 120 stranded whales
The issue in news
Sri Lanka’s navy, coast guard, local volunteers and conservation experts have rescued nearly 120 stranded whales and pulled them back to the deep sea in an overnight operation.
- Whales are known to strand themselves on beaches across the world and they do so singularly or in groups.
- Whale beaching, also called Cetacean Stranding is the phenomenon in which cetaceans strand themselves on land (generally beaches).
- While individual strandings are mostly attributed to injury or sickness, it is not clear why exactly whales beach themselves in groups. However, there are a few theories that might explain this behaviour.
- Some whales follow schooling fish or prey into shallow waters, which causes the whales to become disoriented, as a result of which they get stranded.
- Some whales panic from being trapped by a predator such as killer whales or sharks.
- Whales might be drawn to land by prey-rich currents.
- The shape of the beach and the coastline could also have a role to play. For instance, if the beach has gently-sloping shorelines, whales that are dependent on echolocation for navigation can be deceived.