Ragi poori to jowar upma, Parliament gets a new millet men

Source: The post is based on the article “Ragi poori to jowar upma, Parliament gets a new millet menu” published in Indian Express on 30th January 2023

What is the News?

The menu of Parliament House canteens will soon have millet dishes such as jowar vegetable upma to bajra khichdi, ragi ladoo to bajre ka churma alongside traditional favourites biryani and cutlets.

What are Millets?

Millets are part of a group of small-grained cereal crops used as both food and fodder. 

Millets are one of the oldest foods known to humans and the first among cereals to be cultivated for domestic purposes. There is even evidence of the consumption of millet in the Indus Valley civilization.

About millets production in India

millets production
Source: Indian Express

As per FAO, India is the largest producer of millet in the world with a share of 41% in 2020.

Nine types are grown as kharif crops in over 20 States in the country. Major millets include finger millet (ragi or mandua), pearl millet (bajra) and sorghum (jowar) and minor millets.

Rajasthan, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh are leading producers.

Government’s efforts in promoting Millets

The Government of India promoted millets under the Initiative for Nutritional Security through Intensive Millets Promotion (INSIMP), as a sub-scheme of Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) between 2011 and 2014. 

In the following years, NITI Aayog worked on a framework to introduce millets under the public distribution system for “nutritional support”.

The Union government declared 2018 as the ‘National Year of Millets’ to trigger an increase in demand. In the same year, these grains were officially rebranded as a nutri-cereal. 

The programme under INSIMP was merged with the National Food Security Mission (NFSM) as NFSM-Coarse Cereals and implemented in 14 States.

In 2021, the Centre approved the Pradhan Mantri Poshan Shakti Nirman (PM POSHAN), earlier known as the mid-day meal scheme, in government and government-aided schools and advised State governments to include millets in the midday meal menu to enhance the nutritional outcome.

India’s efforts to promote the consumption and production of millet got a boost when the United Nations accepted India’s proposal to declare 2023 as the International Year of Millets (IYOM23).

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