For rice it depends. Cooking any starch in water will first cause the starch granules to swell and eventually tangle up with each other (the gelatinization). Dissolving sugars or salts in the water slows down the process by raising the temperature the swelling starts. While few prefer pasta as a stuck blob of strands, the same is not the case for rice. I like my Basmati loose, but my risotto and sushi sticky, so salt may be required for Basmati and optional for Arborio.