New Delhi: To boost consumption of millets, a Parliamentary panel has suggested that beneficiaries of different government schemes like PDS should be given the option to bundle millets along with wheat and rice. The Standing Committee on Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution presented a demand for grant report in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday (March 21) for the department of food and public distribution. The report said that States are allowed to procure coarse grains/millets (Jowar, Bajra, Maize and Ragi etc.) from farmers at MSP under central pool.
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This is subject to the prior approval of the Centre on the detailed procurement plan prepared by State Governments in consultation with FCI and also as per Guidelines for procurement, allocation, distribution and disposal of coarse grains/millets.
The procured quantity should be distributed under TPDS (Targeted Public Distribution System)/OWS(Other welfare Schemes) in the State/UT.
Further, the report said that the Department has revised the guidelines for allocation, distribution and disposal of coarse grains procured by the State Agencies/FCI and enhanced the distribution period to 6-10 months from earlier period of 3 months. Provision of advance for subsidy inter-state transportation of surplus millets through FCI is also incorporated.
The Department also informed that the millet promotion is being done by the Agriculture Ministry in coordination with the Agriculture Departments of various States and Department’s role is confined only to procure them and distribute it for various schemes such as PDS, MDM (mid day meal) scheme and Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS).
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The Committee highlighted that millets have been an integral part of our diet for centuries and in addition to plethora of health benefits, millets are also good for environment with low water and input requirement.
“The Committee, therefore, feel that there is need to create awareness about millets amongst consumers and farmers for its health benefits and nutritious value, thereby, promoting its production and consumption,” the report said.
The panel recommended the Ministry to encourage production and procurement of millets in all the States specially the States having significant tribal population such as Rajasthan, MP and Chattisgarh etc. and provide all possible aid/assistance/bonus to farmers opting to grow millets.
Similarly, the procurement of wheat and rice may be enhanced from the States having higher production of wheat and rice.
“Further, in order to encourage the consumption of millets, the Committee further suggest that the beneficiaries of different schemes should be given option to bundle millets alongwith wheat and rice within their entitled quantity,” the panel said.
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(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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