Revive Millets-based farming, include Millets in the Mid-day Meal in School, ICDS, and PDS
Millets, the miracle grains, a life-line for millions of farmers in dry regions of India are also famous for their resilience to climate change, pest attacks, low input, and high nutritional value, recognizing their potential to fight climate change and malnourishment. The Government of India has introduced the Scheme on “Initiative for Nutritional Security through Intensive Millet Promotion (INSIMP)” in 2011-12, to promote cultivation and consumption of millets. Millets have been included also as an integral part of the National Food Security Mission during XII Plan and the government has announced inclusion of millets in the Public Distribution System (PDS), under the National Food Security Act, 2013. Govt. of Odisha also announced Millets Mission in March 2016. However, all the government initiatives have failed to assume any significance in implementation. In this connection, Nirman, Millets Forum and MINI would like to send this gentle reminder to the honorable parliamentarians, legislators, concerned officials that the true spirit of government schemes, and act, has been not realized yet; mostly because of the failure of Govt. to take necessary and proactive measures to revive millets cultivation, procurement, establish market linkages, and supply millets in the PDS in timely manner. It is necessary to notice that area under millets cultivation in Odisha had been reduced to 0.17 lakh hectares in 2012, from 3.62 lakh hectares in 1980. Thus, ringing a death knell for the delicate rainfed agriculture, indigenous production systems, and food and nutrition security of thousands of people in Odisha and India. In this background it is imperative for the Govt. of India and state govt. to take necessary measures to recognize millets as health food, revive millets-based bio-diverse farming systems and safeguard not only human health but also our soils and our environment. The specific and immediate interventions for the way forward in this context are as follows: · Recognize millets as the climate change resilient crops and cropping systems and promote them under the Odisha state climate change mitigation and adaptation plan and agriculture programs. · Promotion of Millets-based, bio-diverse farming system in Paramparagat Krushi Vikash Yojana (Traditional Farming Improvement Programme) atleast in tribal regions which will ensure livelihood, food and nutritional security of these people. · Mandatory inclusion of millets in public distribution system (PDS) the menu of government mid-day meal program at schools and ICDS programs. · Provide financial support to establish millets processing units. · Provide each millets farmer bonus for Water Saver, bio-diversity, Nutrition and climate change compliance. Sign my petition and show the Government of India and the Govt of Odisha that we want promotion of millets based farming, inclusion of millets in Govt. programs (PDS, MDM, ICDS )and available millets foods to lead a Healthy life.