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International Year of Millets (IYM) 2023

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Agriculture

 

Source: Newonair.gov.in

Context: 2023 has been declared as IYM by the UN on a proposal by India with the aim to create awareness about the health benefits of millet.

 

International year of millets

Benefits of Millets:

 

  • Nutritional Security: cheap and more nutritious. E.g. Ragi has the highest calcium content and high iron content can fight the high prevalence of anaemia.
  • Climate Resilient: they are known as hardy and drought-resistant crops, which has to do with their
  • Economic Security: low investment for inputs
  • Against Health Issues: Millets are gluten-free and have a low glycemic index (glucose level) and therefore can help in tackling lifestyle problems and health challenges such as obesity and diabetes.
  • Millets have antiaging and antioxidant

 

Challenges:

 

  • Preference for Wheat as staple food: Wheat because of gluten makes softer food and is more liked.
    Government policies:g. National Food Security Act promotes wheat and rice
  • Lack of awareness about the benefit of Millet.
  • Other challenges: lack of input subsidies and price incentives, and changing consumer preferences.

Initiatives in India:

  • Government declared (in 2018) millets as “Nutri-Cereals”, considering their “high nutritive value” and also “anti-diabetic properties”.
  • The 2018 year: ‘National Year of Millets”.
  • Increase in MSP for millets
  • Government has included millets in the public distribution system (PDS) and POSHAN Abhiyan.
  • Millet Mission (under the National Food Security Mission): It will help develop farm-gate processing and empower farmers using FPOs.
  • Kerala State Agriculture Department: Millet Village scheme
  • Millet Startup Innovation Challenge
  • A contest for designing a comic story, with the theme ‘India’s Wealth, Millets for Health’

 

Other Initiatives for millets:

  • SCO: India proposed to organize the “Millet Food Festival’

 

Conclusion:

In view of the impact of climate change and government aim for climate-smart agriculture, Millets deserves encouragement. It can also help in providing nourishment to people across all income categories and supporting climate adaptation of rainfed sustainable farming systems.

  

Mains Links

Q. Millets have enormous potential to form a core component in climate-smart agriculture whilst offering nutritional and food security benefits. Elaborate. (15M)

 

Prelims Link

Consider the following crops of India: (UPSC 2012)

  1. Groundnut
  2. Sesamum
  3. Pearl millet

Which of the above is/are predominantly rainfed crops/crops?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: D

Over 60% of the total cropped area in India is Rainfed. Millets (89% area is rainfed); Pulses (88%); Cotton (73%), etc.

Among the following, which one is the least water-efficient crop? (UPSC 2021)

(a) Sugarcane

(b) Sunflower

(c) Pearl Millet

(d) Red gram

Answer: A