Indian Army introduces millets to soldier rations as a nod towards the UN’s International Year of Millets 2023. Soldiers will now be supplied with traditional and native grains after a gap of over half a century, following the discontinuation of millets in favour of Wheat Atta. The incorporation of millet into soldiers’ daily meals is expected to mitigate lifestyle diseases and enhance morale.
The government has been requested to sanction the procurement of millet flour not exceeding 25 percent of the authorised entitlement of cereals (rice and wheat atta) in rations for troops starting in the year 2023-24.
The quantity of millet flour will depend on the option chosen and the quantity demanded, and three popular varieties of millet flour, including Bajra, Jowar and Ragi, will be issued to troops based on preference. Millets are a good source of proteins, micronutrients and phyto-chemicals, and this will enhance the nutritional profile of soldiers’ diets.
To further promote the consumption of millets, advisories have been issued for their extensive use in organized functions, Barakhanas, canteens, and home cooking. Special emphasis has been given to introducing value-added millet items and snacks for troops deployed along the Northern borders. CSD canteens and dedicated corners in shopping complexes have been set up to introduce millet foods. Furthermore, “Know your Millet” awareness campaigns are being conducted in educational institutions.
Centralised training of chefs is underway to prepare nutritious millet dishes. The incorporation of traditional millet foods with proven health benefits, suited to Indian geographical and climatic conditions, is expected to enhance the satisfaction and morale of the troops. Millets would now form an integral part of the daily meal for all ranks.
Millets will be introduced through CSD canteens and as part of the International year of Millets `know your millets’ there will be dedicated spots being set up in shopping complexes as part of awareness campaign. Also campaigns will be carried out in educational institutions.