Consider Millets in PDS: Maneka Writes to Paswan
New Delhi: Underlining the need for natural and nutritious food, Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi wants millets to be introduced in the Public Distribution System.
Gandhi has shot off a letter to Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan to consider introducing millets of every kind into the PDS system. She stressed on the many benefits of millets over the food currently available for the poor sections of society.
Gandhi wrote that for the first time in many years, the government is taking malnourishment seriously. Elaborating, she said the National Nutrition Mission has been created to protect children and pregnant women from malnourishment.
To tackle malnourishment, the minister suggested that including millets in the PDS will give poor people nutritious food at an economical price and will allow them to eat better.
The benefits of introducing millets in the system to farmers have also been shared. If Gandhi’s proposal receives a positive response, the ministry will set up a presentation on the beneficial properties of millets and how it will help farmers because cultivating millets consumes less water.
Experts said millets such as bajra, ragi and jowar are high in iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.
Our current agriculture system is based on insecticides and chemical fertilisers. Millets are natural and nutritious food, bereft of any ill-effects of fertilisers. Immense damage has been caused by chemical-based agriculture. Spray of insecticides not only does serious damage to the fields but also eventually to the product which is consumed by us. Moreover, introducing millets will also encourage consumption of local foods, said a senior official of the ministry.