Institutional impetus to make an Asian country global millet hub

Emphasising that millets have “a number of health benefits”, Sitharaman, announced that the Indian Institute of Millet Research – Hyderabad, will be supported as Centre of Excellence for sharing best practices, research and technologies at the international level.

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For the first time, this policy push makes mass nutrition a talking point in national health management. Significantly, hours after the announcement, Union Health minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya, spoke about formulating guidelines.
For the first time, this policy push makes mass nutrition a talking point in national health management. Significantly, hours after the announcement, Union Health minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya, spoke about formulating guidelines.

erming it as “shree anna”, the Union Budget accorded high priority to millets with Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announcing that institutional impetus will be given to make India a global hub for these nutritious grains.

Emphasising that millets have “a number of health benefits”, Sitharaman, announced that the Indian Institute of Millet Research – Hyderabad, will be supported as Centre of Excellence for sharing best practices, research and technologies at the international level.

“India is at the forefront of popularising millets, whose consumption furthers nutrition, food security and welfare of farmers, as the Hon’ble Prime Minister recently said. We are the largest producer and second largest exporter of ‘shree anna’ in the world. With a number of health benefits, they have been an integral part of our food for centuries. I acknowledge with pride the huge service done by small farmers in contributing to the health of fellow citizens by growing ‘shree anna’,” Sitharaman said.

For the first time, this policy push makes mass nutrition a talking point in national health management. Significantly, hours after the announcement, Union Health minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya, spoke about formulating guidelines. “The FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Association of India) will soon set guidelines for schools, hospitals and government canteens to incorporate millets as nutritional options in the food menu,” Dr Mandaviya said, while unveiling FSSAI’s new year calendar, which celebrates International Year of Millets 2023.

The use of millets can have a significant public health impact in the backdrop of India emerging as the diabetes capital of the world. Dr Amrish Mithal, Chairman and Head, Endocrinology and Diabetes, Max Healthcare, an advocate of millets, says they should gradually replace rice and wheat.

Millets are gluten-free and perfect substitutes for wheat. In general, they contain 7-12 per cent protein, 2-5 per cent fat, 65-75 per cent carbohydrates and 10-12 per cent fibre,” Mithal says.