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India’s big millets push, and why it makes sense to have these grains

 GS Paper 3

 

Source: Indian Express

 

India’s efforts in pushing millets:

  • FSSAI: It will formulate guidelines to include millets in the food menu of schools, hospitals, and government canteens.
  • “Millets canteen” to produce millets-based foods (in hospitals)
  • The Youth Affairs Ministry: Webinars and conferences with leading athletes, nutritionists, and dieticians on millets through the Fit India app
  • Ministry of Food Processing Industries: It has organized millet fair-cum-exhibitions in different states.

 

What are the benefits of millet?

  • Eco-friendly: They require much less water than rice or wheat and can be grown in rain-fed areas without irrigation. They belong to the grass family & tend to be more tolerant to drought and extreme weather and can grow in poor soil and hilly areas.
  • Healthy: Millets can be a healthier option to keep lifestyle diseases such as obesity and diabetes at bay.
  • Millets have a much lower glycemic index — a measure of how much blood sugar levels spike after consuming a food item — than processed rice or wheat.
  • Millets are also high in fibre content which is known to improve gut microbiota.
  • They are rich in micronutrients such as iron and zinc, which can help reduce the country’s burden of anaemia.
  • Millets also contain niacin, which is linked to lowering triglycerides and increasing HDL or good cholesterol.
  • Millets contain no gluten and suit people with gluten allergy and irritable bowel syndrome.