Super-Food of Millet
My dear countrymen, Sridevi Varadarajan ji from Chennai has sent me a reminder. She has written something like this on MyGov – There are less than 5 months left for the New Year to come, and we all know that the ensuing New Year will be celebrated as the International Year of Millets. She has also sent me a millet map of the country. She’s also asked if you could discuss this in the upcoming episode of ‘Mann Ki Baat’. It gives me immense happiness to see this kind of spirit in my countrymen.
You will remember that the United Nations has passed a resolution declaring the year 2023 as the International Year of Millets. You will also be very happy to know that this proposal of India had been accepted by more than 70 countries.
Today, around the world, the craze for these very coarse grains, millets, is rising. Friends, when I talk about coarse grains, I want to share one of my efforts with you today. For the last some time, when any foreign guests come to India, when Heads of State comes to India, it is my endeavor to get dishes made from the millets of India, that is, our coarse grains in the banquets. And the experience has been that these dignitaries have very much relished them and they also try to collect a lot of information about our coarse grains, about Millets.
Millets, coarse grains, have been a part of our Agriculture, Culture and Civilization since ancient times. Millets are mentioned in our Vedas, and similarly, they are also mentioned in Purananuru and Tolkappiyam. If you go to any part of the country, you will definitely find different types of Millets in the food of the people there. In millets too, just like our culture, a lot of diversity is found. Jowar, Bajra, Ragi, Sawan, Kangni, Cheena, Kodo, Kutki, Kuttu, all these are just Millets.
India is the largest producer of Millets in the world; hence the responsibility of making this initiative a success also rests on the shoulders of us Indians. Together we all have to make it a mass movement, and also increase the awareness of Millets among the people of the country.
And friends, you know very well, millets are also 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.
For our small farmers, millets are especially beneficial. Millet hay is also considered the best fodder. Nowadays, the young generation is much more focused on Healthy Living and Eating. Even if you look at it this way, 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. We referred to malnutrition, just a while ago. Millets are also very beneficial in fighting malnutrition, since they are packed with energy as well as protein.
Today a lot is being done to promote Millets in the country. Along with focusing on research and innovation related to this, FPOs are being encouraged, so that production can be increased. It is my request to my farmer brothers and sisters to adopt Millets, that is, coarse grains, more and more and benefit from it. It feels good to see that many such start-ups are emerging today, which are working on Millets. Some of these are making Millet Cookies, while some are also making Millet Pancakes and Dosa. There are some who are making Millet Energy Bars, and Millet Breakfasts. I wish all the very best to all the people working in this field. In this festive season, we also use Millets in most of the dishes. You must share the pictures of such delicacies made in your homes on social media, so that it helps in increasing awareness among people about Millets.
(Excerpts from the Prime Minister’s address in the 92nd Episode of “Mann ki Baat” on 28.08.22)