What is rice fortification? Does India really need this Rs 2,700 crore per annum scheme?

Last year on August 15, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his Independence Day speech, announced a plan to distribute fortified rice to the poor by 2024. He said that this could be accomplished under different schemes, including through Public Distribution Systems (PDS) and Mid-Day Meals. This year on April 7, the Union Cabinet approved a proposal to distribute fortified rice under all government schemes, as a solution to tackle the problem of nutritional deficiency. The government will spend about Rs 2,700 crore per year on the scheme but is it really worth it? First, let us understand what fortification is and why India requires it.