The summons comes in response to a complaint filed on September 14, 2021 by Shruti Nagvanshi and Shirin Shabana Khan on the behalf of Peoples’ Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) and Savitri Bai Phule Mahila Panchayat of Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has specified a comprehensive group standard for millets vide Food Safety and Standards, Second Amendment Regulations, 2023 and this will be enforced from September 1 onwards.
Currently, individual standards for only a few millets like sorghum (jowar), whole and decorticated pearl millet grain (bajra), finger millet (ragi) and amaranth are prescribed in the Food Safety and Standards (Food Product Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011.
The FSSAI has now framed a comprehensive group standard for 15 types of millets specifying 8 quality parameters like maximum limits for moisture content, uric acid content, extraneous matter, other edible grains, defects, weevilled grains, and immature and shrivelled grains, so as to ensure availability of good quality (standardised) millets in domestic and global markets.
In order to enhance awareness and promote production & consumption of millets, in April 2018, millets were rebranded as ‘Nutri Cereals’ and the year 2018 was designated as the National Year of Millets. Later, the United Nations General Assembly at its 75th session in March 2021 declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets (IYOM 2023).
This will provide an opportunity to increase global production, efficient processing and better use of crop rotation and promote millets as a major component of the food basket.
Most of millet crops are native of India and they provide most of the nutrients required for normal functioning of human body. Millets are also gluten-free; low in Glycemic Index (GI); and rich in dietary fibre and micronutrients, including calcium, iron, phosphorus etc.