Thu, 08 Jun 2023

New Delhi [India], March 22 (ANI): With a view of promoting the consumption of millets in light of the UN declaring 2023 as the International Year of Millets, the Indian Army has steered the introduction of Millets Flour in the rations of soldiers, an official statement said on Wednesday.

This landmark decision will ensure troops are supplied with native and traditional grains after over half a century when these were discontinued in favour of Wheat Atta.

According to the statement, traditional millet foods with proven health benefits and suited to our geographical and climatic conditions would be a vital step in mitigating lifestyle diseases and enhancing the satisfaction and morale of the troops.

Millets would now form an integral part of the daily meal for all ranks.

Government sanction has been sought to procure millet flour not exceeding 25 per cent of the authorised entitlement of Cereals (Rice and Wheat Atta), in rations for troops commencing from the year 2023-24 onwards, the statement added.

According to the statement, procurement and issue will be based on the option exercised and quantity demanded. Three popular varieties of millets flour i.e. Bajra, Jowar and Ragi will be issued to troops duly considering preference. Millets have the benefit of being a good source of proteins, micro-nutrients and phytochemicals thus boosting the nutritional profile of a Soldier's diet.

In addition, advisories have been issued for Millets to be extensively used in organised functions, Barakhanas, canteens and in-home cooking.

Centralised training of chefs is being undertaken to prepare wholesome, tasty and nutritious millet dishes. Special emphasis on introducing value-added millet items and snacks to troops deployed along Northern borders has been given, the statement added.

According to the statement, millet foods are being introduced through CSD canteens, and dedicated corners are being set up in shopping complexes. 'Know your Millet' awareness campaigns are also being conducted in educational institutions.

Meanwhile, Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar has directed its agency National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) to promote the 'International Year of Millets 2023' on a global scale.

Accordingly, NAFED has started extending marketing linkage to millet-centric startups, setting up a millet corner in NAFED Bazaar Retail Stores, and installing of millet vending machines across Delhi NCR.

"We are also in process to establish a Millets Experience Centre at Delhi Haat, INA to promote nutritious Millets and create awareness on the rich history of India through Millet based dishes," said the ministry in a release on Monday.

NAFED has also developed premium quality millet gift hampers which have been showcased at the G20 1st Employment Working Group Meeting under the aegis of the Ministry of Labour and Employment at Jodhpur, Rajasthan. These hampers are developed with the idea to promote millers and demonstrate support and commitment to the promotion of such nutritious products. (ANI)

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