Government Schemes for Millets

India is a major producer of Millets, accounting for 80% of Asia’s production. Millets have been a major staple food in India for centuries, but got side-lined in the recent past with the advent of Rice and Wheat.

To bring back millets, Government of India spearheaded the proposal at the United Nations to declare 2023 as the International Year of Millets (IYOM). India’s Prime Minister Sh. Narendra Modi has stated that India aims to make IYoM 2023 a people’s movement for the overall benefit of the cultivator, consumer and climate. The Global Millets conference objective is to elevate awareness of Shree Anna (Nutri-cereals / millets) for food security and nutrition, enhance investment in R&D and extension, and inspire stakeholders towards improving production, productivity and quality of millets with the intention of position India as the ‘Global hub for millets’.

In order to promote awareness about millets and widespread adoption, the Union government, has launched various activities with the help of various states and Indian embassies around the globe. Key activities include:

Millets – the super grain that is high in protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals, is often touted as a ’superfood’ because of its high nutritional value. As per Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, India is a major producer of Millets, accounting for 80 per cent of Asia’s production and 20 per cent of global production. IT had been the major staple food in central India for centuries, but after the advent of high-yielding varieties of rice and wheat during the 1970s, millets slowly got sidelined from the food basket.

A Quick Breakup Of Millets Production In India

Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare adds that up to 1965-70, millets were part of 20 per cent of total food grain basket in India, which has now decreased to mere 6 per cent.

Creating A Demand For Millets

To bring back millets and create domestic, global demand and to provide nutritional food to the people, the Government of India decided to mark the National Year of Millets in 2018. Keeping in view the nutritional value of the millets, the Government also notified Millets as nutri-cereals in the same year and included it under the POSHAN Mission Abhiyan. In 2021, India had proposed to United Nations for declaring 2023 as the International Year of Millets (IYOM). The proposal of India got support from 72 countries and United Nation’s General Assembly (UNGA) declared 2023 as International Year of Millets. Now, Government of India has decided to celebrate 2023 as the International Year of Millets, to make it a peoples’ movement so that Indian millet, recipes, value added products are accepted globally.

Preparatory Steps Taken By India For The International Year of Millets

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, following are the steps taken by India for International Year of Millets (IYoM), 2023

Talking about the same and the importance of marking International Year of Millets in 2023, in the latest monthly address of Mann Ki Baat, PM Narendra Modi Maan Ki Baat said, “Millets are beneficial for the farmers and especially the small farmers. In fact, the crop gets ready in a very short time, and does not require much water either. Millets contain plenty of protein, fiber, and minerals. Many people even call it a superfood. Millets have many benefits, not just one. Along with reducing obesity, they also reduce the risk of diabetes, hypertension and heart-related diseases. Along with that, they are also helpful in preventing stomach and liver ailments. Millets are also very beneficial in fighting malnutrition, since they are packed with energy as well as protein.”

To motivate innovative solutions from people, recently, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had also announced the “Millet Challenge” for startups, with a seed grant of Rs 1 crore each to three winners, who will help design and develop innovative models for and across the millets value chain. She also announced Rs 25 crore funding by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development under Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) to University of Agricultural Sciences, Raichur, for establishment of Millet Value Chain Park, incubation centre for processing, value addition, and capacity building for promotion of millets.