Iodized salt is one way to make sure that our young children avoid cretinism, goitre and other brain deficiencies. Iodized salt adds nutrition to a child’s meal.
India began its salt iodization programme in 1962 following studies demonstrating the links
between goiter and iodine deficiency. After an initial period of low political priority, strong
government support began to emerge in 1983,when the elimination of goiter was included in
the national development plan. Momentum for USI (Universal Salt Iodization) began to mount, including engagement with the private sector to produce iodized salt, which in India is tightly regulated and controlled by a special Salt Commissioner.
The sale of non-iodized salt for human consumption was banned nationally in 1997, but
the ban was later revoked in 2000. Most states already had their own bans in place throughout
this time, and the majority maintained them despite the change at the national level.
However, the states of Orissa and Gujarat (which account for about three quarters of national production) revoked their bans, sparking substantial drops in coverage throughout the
After five years of intensive advocacy with the central government, a nationwide ban on the sale of non-iodized salt was reinstated in 2005.
Households with limited access to iodized salt are predominantly rural and low income, and
more likely reside in Southern India states, according to a recent UNICEF supported international study. It is also true that in mountainous areas like the Himalayan ranges and the North east of India, there is a lack of iodine, and use of iodized salt is essential.
Sathya Paul, Guwahati