Centre to bring millets under Public Distribution System soon

Centre to bring millets under Public Distribution System soon

Centre to bring millets under Public Distribution System soon

The Centre is working on including millets in the list of grains that are supplied under the pubic distribution system (PDS).

Along with rice and wheat, the government may soon take a decision to include millets like ragi, jowar or bajra in the list of foodgrains to be distributed under the PDS system, said a senior official in the Ministry of Food.

A high-level committee headed by Niti Ayog member Ramesh Chand has already deliberated on the issue and is likely to recommend to the government to include millets in the PDS, said the official.

Apart from high nutritional value, the cereals also require less water to grow, said the official, adding that millet-growing states Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Uttarakhand have requested the Centre to include millets in the PDS system.

Being a pioneer in growing millets, Karnataka cultivates three popular varieties of millets like ragi, jowar and bajra in around 18 lakh hectares, while other varieties including sorgam, brown top millets (korle), little millet (samai) and Indian barnyard millet in around 20,000 hectares land.

Also, millets are the best crops to cultivate amid growing challenges of climate change, said an official in the Ministry of Agriculture. "There is a need to revive millet cultivation as its acreage has come down not only in Karnataka, but in other parts of the country as well," he said.

The Ministry of Food and Consumer Affairs has already allowed the state government to procure rice locally and distribute it to poor through the public distribution scheme. Once millets are included in PDS, the Centre will provide the money to the state to procure the same locally, said an official from the Ministry of Food.

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