New Delhi, March 22
The Indian Army is reintroducing millets flour in the rations of soldiers in a bid to promote consumption of coarse grains, almost half a century after these were discontinued in favour of the wheat flour.
The Army said in a statement on Wednesday that the decision has been taken to ensure that troops are supplied with native and traditional grains.
“With a view to promote consumption of millets in light of the UN declaring 2023 as the International Year of Millets, the Indian Army has steered introduction of millets flour in the rations of soldiers. This 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,” the Army said.
“Traditional millet foods with proven health benefits and suited to our geographical and climatic conditions would be a vital step in mitigating lifestyle diseases and enhancing satisfaction and morale of the troops. Millets would now form an integral part of the daily meal for all ranks,” it said.
A government 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.
The procurement and issue will be based on option exercised and quantity demanded. Three popular varieties of millets flour — Bajra, Jowar and Ragi — will be issued to troops duly considering preference.
Millets have the benefit of being a good source of proteins, micronutrients and phyto-chemicals thus boosting the nutritional profile of a soldier’s diet.
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 for introducing value added millet items and snacks to troops deployed along the northern borders have been given.
“Millet foods are being introduced through CSD canteens as well as dedicated corners are being set up in shopping complexes. ‘Know your Millet’ awareness campaigns are also being conducted in educational institutions,” the Army said.
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