With a view to promoting the consumption of millets in light of the UN declaring 2023 as the International Year of Millets, the Indian Army has introduced millets flour in the rations of soldiers.
The 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.
Traditional millet foods with proven health benefits and suited to India’s 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.
The government’s sanction has been sought to procure millets 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 Defence Ministry said today.
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. 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.