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Mains Answer Writing


Q1) Adoption of millets can provide unique solutions to the problems of nutritional deficiency, ecological degradation, and receding farm incomes; however, the realisation of its complete potential is hindered by a slew of factors. Comment.

(250 Words/15 Marks)



Millets, referred to as Sri-Anna in budget 2023-24, are cereal crops and small seed grasses. Millets are used both for human consumption as well as fodder for animals.

The importance/relevance of millets for environment, nutritional security, and farm incomes can be seen from:

  1. Health benefits:
  2. a) Millets also known as nutri-cereals can tackle the problem of high nutritional deficiency.

E.g., millets are rich source iron, calcium, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, B-complex vitamins etc.

  1. b) Millets can check high incidence of non-communicable diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases etc.
  2. Environmental benefits:
  3. a) Millets are dry land crops and have a very low water footprint.
  4. b) In comparison to other cereal crops, Millets is highly beneficial for soil health. 

E.g., millets help in reinstating soil fertility.

  1. c) Millets have a higher capacity to sequester carbon and relatively lower methane emissions.
  2. Farm incomes:
  3. a) Millets have a minimal dependence on synthetic fertilizers. Naturally resistant to diseases and pests’ millets can minimize the use of pesticides.
  4. b) Millets also known as hardy crops are climate resilient. 

E.g., high tolerance against heat waves, droughts etc.

  1. c) Millets promote mixed farming. 

E.g., use of millets as fodder for the cattle.

  1. d) Small farmers can specially benefit from millets. 

E.g., low input cost; does not require large tracts of land etc.

  1. e) Increasing demand for millets-based products.

E.g., ragi dosa mix.


Despite these benefits, the realization of the full potential of millets is hindered by following factors:

1.Consumption of millets declined due to policy measures centered around green revolution.

E.g., excessive focus on rice and wheat through MSP system; the per capita consumption of millets fell drastically from 32.9 kg to 4.2 kg from 1962-to 2010.

  1. Social factors:
  2. a) Increasing urbanization, rise in per capita incomes have steered people toward ready made products, usually dominated by rice, wheat, and more recently oats.
  3. b) Change in consumer tastes and preferences also affected adoption of millets.
  4. c) Lack of traditional knowledge to prepare millet-based dish.
  5. d) Millets were considered to be poor man’s food, and were marginalised in comparison of rice and wheat.
  6. Lack of processing machinery and diversification of processing technologies dedicated to millets have slowed their adoption.
  7. Void in the availability of good quality seeds have limited the scalability and adoption of millets.
  8. In comparison to rice and wheat, millets have seen limited commercialization, thus reducing the renumeration from the crop. 

E.g., rice and wheat are extensively used in restaurants, packaged products etc.


In order to promote cultivation and consumption of millets, there is a need to take corrective steps such as:

  1. Steady inclusion of millets in the MSP/PDS system. 

E.g., Haryana’s example can be emulated; millets should be included in PM-Poshan scheme (jhangaru ladoo in Uttarakhand).

  1. It is an imperative to take dedicated steps to improve the productivity of millets.

E.g., creation of seed banks.

  1. Robust primary processing infrastructure is a must to integrate millets into the socioeconomic system.
  2. There is a need to bring in behavioral changes in consumers. 

E.g., organization of millets mela/fair.

  1. Technological upgradation is necessary to upscale the production of millets and millets based products.

Though known as wonder grain, the systematic neglect of millets has relegated them to the position of being orphan grains. As we celebrate the international year of millets, it is an imperative to take holistic measures to make millets integral to our daily lives.


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