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India Iodine Survey

Prelims – Science and Technology

India Iodine Survey, a first-of-its-kind national survey to measure the coverage of iodized salt in India was carried out.

Who conducted the survey?

1. It was conducted by Nutrition International in collaboration with the All India Institute of Medical Sciences and the Indian Coalition for the Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders (ICCIDD).

What does the survey reveal?

1. About 76% of Indian households consumed adequately iodised salt, which is salt with at least 15 parts per million of iodine.

2. The five worst performers were Tamil Nadu (61.9%), Andhra Pradesh (63.9%), Rajasthan (65.5%), Odisha (65.8%) and Jharkhand (68.8%).

3. The northeastern states are doing very well with respect to iodised salt consumption at the household level because of the distance they have from the three salt-producing centers.

4. The salt-producing states have access to common (or non-iodised) salt and, consume the readily available salt. So top salt-producing states have the lowest consumption of iodized salts.

5. 13 out of 36 States and Union Territories have already achieved Universal Salt Iodisation or have 90% of households with access to adequately iodized salt.

Which are the largest salt-producing states in India?

1. Gujarat produces 71% of salt in the country, followed by Rajasthan at 17% and Tamil Nadu at 11%. The rest of the country accounts for 1% of the salt produced.

How are salts regulated in India?

1. India made fortification of salt with iodine mandatory for direct human consumption in 1992.

2. Salt is strictly monitored by the Salt Commissioner’s office and if it is inadequately iodized, they aren’t rolled out.

Why is iodizing of salt important?

1. Iodine is a vital micro-nutrient for the optimal mental and physical development of human beings.

2. Deficiency of iodine can result in a range of disabilities and disorders such as goitre, hypothyroidism, cretinism, abortion, still births, mental retardation and psychomotor defects.

3. Children born in iodine deficient areas may have up to 13.5 IQ points less than those born in iodine sufficient areas.

Where to focus?

1. Momentum needs to be sustained to make sure that iodine coverage does not fall below current levels.

2. The States and the Centre should work together to address the current gaps.

3. They also should look into issues that vary from one State to another resulting in inadequate production of iodized salt.

Source: The Hindu