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Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Announces ‘Millet Challenge’ For The Start-Ups

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said India in the global scenario is the highest producer of millets and its fifth largest exporter

Nirmala Sitharaman Announces 'Millet Challenge' For The Startups
Rs. 1 crore each will be granted to three winners, to design and develop innovative solutions for and across the Millets value chain
  • NITI Ayog will also announce a millet-related challenge for the start-ups
  • The govt. will grant Rs. 1 crore each to three winners
  • Ms Sitharaman also expressed concern over drop in millets cultivation

Karnataka: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday (August 27) announced the “Millet Challenge” for start-ups, with seed grants of Rs 1 crore each to three winners, to design and develop innovative solutions for and across the Millets value chain. She also announced Rs 25 crore funding by NABARD under Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) to University of Agricultural Sciences, Raichur, for establishment of Millet Value Chain Park, incubation centre for processing, value addition and capacity building for promotion of millets.

Ms Sitharaman was speaking at Millet Conclave 2022 organised jointly by Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), University of Agricultural Sciences and NABARD in Raichur.

Soon within a week or 10 days, I will have the NITI Ayog announce a challenge for the start-ups, all focusing on millet, millet related matters, and that challenge will be thrown open to anyone who wants to participate, inclusive of young minds who wants to be associated with start-ups, to take up the challenge and provide solutions through innovative ways, she said.

Also Read: Study Shows Regular Millet Consumption Can Combat Anaemia

Noting that before December the announcement of the winner will be made, she said that the Millet Challenge will award seed grants of Rs 1 crore each to three winners, Rs 20 lakh each to 15 selected candidates, and Rs 10 lakh each to 15 other selected candidates.

The Minister also urged large companies which deal with millet processing particularly to focus on the backward Kalyana Karnataka, and a brand be created for this region of the state.

Like Kodagu and Araku means coffee, Kalyana Karnataka means millet. That kind of branding and powerful marketing should become exercise, I invite start-ups to work with the kind of companies which can help us brand millets from India to reach all countries of the world, particularly when we are looking for healthy alternative food, she said.

Also Read: Here’s All You Need To Know About The Superfood ‘Millet’ That Is Good For Consumption, Planet And Farmers

Ms Sitharaman also expressed concern over a report that there is a drop of about 60 per cent of land under cultivation of millets, and that too in a state which gives Rs 10,000 per acre as incentive to grow millets.

Seriously there is a need to come out with a suggestion on what is the cause? Is it just the market or anything else- we need to know that, she said.

Pointing out that Karnataka is a leading producer of millets, the Finance Minister said, India in the global scenario is the highest producer of millets and its fifth largest exporter.

She listed out 7 reasons why more emphasis should be put on millet production like- nutritional security, Atma-Nirbhar Bharat, women participation, scope of value addition, employment generation, start-up environment, and climate resilience.

Watch: Right To Nutrition, Health And Hygiene Is Not A Privilege, But a Right: Dilen Gandhi, Reckitt

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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