79% of Indians are positive about adding millets to the Public Distribution System; Some millets con

31 December 2011 - "Recently, IIT-Delhi and the University of Allahabad carried out a survey of the Public Distribution System (PDS) across nine states in India. More than 1200 people living in small villages across the country were interviewed. A number of findings from this survey are noteworthy, in light of recent demands to 'reform' the food security system in the country. The survey found that the PDS is functioning remarkably well even in states where it was dismal in the recent past. Most people were getting nearly all their quota of grain and were satisfied with the functioning of their ration shops. Most of them preferred to get their entitlements from the ration shop rather than receive cash - as has been proposed in the recent draft of the Food Security Bill. One of the questions in the survey was whether the respondent would be willing to buy grains like Finger Millet (ragi), Pearl Millet (bajra), Sorghum (jowar) or Corn (makka) if these were made available in the ration shops. An overwhelming 79 per cent of the respondents said 'yes' in reply to this question (see Table for state-wise data)." ... See more at: http://www.indiatogether.org/2011/dec/pov-millets.htm#sthash.FTDsciPT.dpuf ... Millets were referred to as coarse cereals but considering their nutritional values, they are now more aptly called nutritious cereals. In spite of the steady economic growth over the last 20 years, India has not been able to tackle the nutritional crisis faced by a large part of the population. The third National Family Health Survey revealed that in 2005-6 more than 40 per cent of children in the age group 0-3 were underweight. More than 70 per cent of children in 6-35 month age group were found to be anemic. More than one-third of adult women were underweight and more than half of them were anemic. Millets have been eaten for a very long time and were probably the first cultivated foods. While the reasons for this dismal state of nutrition are many, including poverty and great inequality, the consumption of a more diverse diet rather than just white rice (polished rice) and wheat could help alleviate this. Pearl Millet and Barnyard Millet contain nearly 10 times the amount of iron as in white rice. Finger Millet contains about 10 times more calcium than white rice; calcium is very important for growing children and older people. Millets are whole grains containing a higher percentage of fiber compared to white rice and maida. Fiber lowers blood cholesterol levels and helps control blood sugar levels. These benefits of millets have become so well known in cities that companies have started marketing multi-grain biscuits and flours containing millets in a big way. - See more at: http://www.indiatogether.org/2011/dec/pov-millets.htm#sthash.8ZwP6j4Y.dpuf

Karuna M., "Adding Millets to the Basket, India Together," December, 2011, http://www.indiatogether.org/2011/dec/pov-millets.htm [verified 4/15/14]

#food #grain #foodsecurity #India