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Centre Plans to Launch Several Programmes to Popularize Millets & Other Nutri-Cereals: Tomar

In March 2021, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets (IYOM), based on India's proposal.

Shivam Dwivedi
Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Agriculture Minister
Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Agriculture Minister

The government plans to hold a number of programmes in the country and abroad to promote millets and other nutri-cereals. Furthermore, all Ministries/Departments of the Government of India, in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (DA&FW) and the Department of Agricultural Research and Education, will promote nutri-cereals (DARE).

This was stated by Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, while chairing a meeting of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare on the topic 'International Year of Millets.' The Government of India proposed to the United Nations, at the initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, that 2023 be designated as the International Year of Millets (IYoM). In March 2021, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets (IYOM), based on India's proposal.

Tomar, speaking at the meeting, stated that the Government of India has planned activities for the grand celebrations of IYoM-2023. The IYOM-2023 action plan focuses on strategies to increase production, consumption, export, branding, and so on. According to him, the government has also launched a PLI scheme to promote millets.

As part of the Prime Minister's announcement of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, the Government approved a Central Sector Scheme, namely the "Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for Food Processing Industry," on March 31, 2021, with an outlay of INR 10,900 crores to be implemented over a seven-year period from 2021-2022 to 2026-27.

The primary goals of this scheme are to help create global food manufacturing champions and to support Indian food brands in international markets. The scheme will provide assistance to specific food product segments that have high growth potential. These include ready-to-cook/ready-to-eat foods, such as millet-based products.

Tomar stated that a Committee of Secretaries chaired by the Cabinet Secretary and a Core Committee chaired by the Secretaries of DA&FW and DARE have been formed to oversee the programmes and policies aimed at popularising Nutri-Cereals.

The Government has evolved the ‘Seven Sutras’ (themes) in the run-up to the IYOM, which will be rolled out by the concerned Ministry/Departments, - Enhancement of Production/Productivity (DA&FW/DARE), Nutrition & Health benefits (Ministry of Health/FSSAI), Value Addition, Processing & Recipe Development (Ministries of Food Processing Industries & Tourism), Entrepreneurship/Startup/Collective Development (Commerce and DA&FW), Awareness creation including Branding Labelling & Promotion (All Ministries), International Outreach (Commerce & Ministry of External Affairs) and Policy Interventions for Mainstreaming (Dept of Food & Public Distribution and DA&FW).

Millets are high in protein, fibre, minerals, iron, and calcium, and have a low glycemic index. India is a major producer of millets, accounting for 80% of Asian production and 20% of global output. The average yield of millets in India (1239 kg/haq) is also higher than the global average yield of 1229 kg/haq. The major millets crops grown in India and their percentage share of production are Pearl Millet (Bajra) (61%), Jowar (Sorghum) (27%), and Finger Millet (Mandua/Ragi) ( 10%).

Shobha Karandlaje and Kailash Choudhary, Ministers of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, attended today's Consultative Committee meeting. Asit Kumar Mal, Bellana Chandrasekar, Jaskaur Meena, Pradeep Kumar Chaudhary, Rama Devi, Secretary, DA&FW, Manoj Ahuja, S. Ramalingam, Shrinivas Dadasaheb Patil, and Ram Shakal were among those in attendance. Dr. Trilochan Mohapatra, Secretary of DARE and Director General of ICAR, as well as senior officers from the Ministry and ICAR, took part in the discussions.

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