The government has decided to distribute millets like jowar and bajra (foxtail millet) through public distribution system (PDS) in an effort to achieve nutrition security of the poor, according to an official order.
Under the food law, the government via PDS, also known as ration shops, distributes foodgrains — especially wheat and rice — at an highly subsidised rates of Rs 1-3 per kg to 81 crore beneficiaries.
“A committee constituted by the central government for examination of inclusion of millets in the PDS for improving nutritional support has recommended for inclusion of millets in PDS across the country and the same has been accepted by the central government,” said a notification issued by the agriculture ministry.
The government also declared some millets, which have high nutritive value, ‘Nutri-Cereals’ for production, consumption and trade point of view, it said.
These millets include Sorghum (Jowar), Pearl Millet (Bajra), Finger Millet (Ragi/Mandua), Minor Millets such as Foxtail Millet (Kangani/Kakun), Proso Millet (Cheena), Kodo Millet (Kodo), Barnyard Millet (Sawa/Sanwa/ Jhangora), Little Millet (Kutki) and two Pseudo Millets (Black-wheat (Kuttu) and Ameranthus (Chaulai).
According to the ministry, millets hold great potential in contributing substantially to food and nutritional security of the country and thus they are not only a powerhouse of nutrients, but also are climate resilient crops and possess unique nutritional characteristics.
The recent research findings also show that millets contain anti-diabetic properties and millet-based food have low Glycemic index (GI) and reduces the postprandial blood glucose level and glycosylated haemoglobin, the ministry added.