Prefixing millets with ‘Shri’ changes how we perceive coarse grains: Kailash Choudhary, MoS Agriculture

New Delhi | Updated: 02 February, 2023 9:23 am IST
He said, "Today's budget was a magnificent and inclusive one. Farmers have been given priority in this budget. It focuses on natural and organic farming which will benefit in the coming years.
He said, "Today's budget was a magnificent and inclusive one. Farmers have been given priority in this budget. It focuses on natural and organic farming which will benefit in the coming years.

Elaborating on why finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman referred to millets as Shri (a title of respect used before the name), MoS Agriculture Kailash Choudhary said that the gesture will completely change our perception of coarse grains.

He said, “Today’s budget was a magnificent and inclusive one. Farmers have been given priority in this budget. It focuses on natural and organic farming which will benefit in the coming years. It also makes way for technology in agriculture. Naming millets as Shri is also a great effort. Earlier we used to refer to ragi as ragi and jowars as just jowar. We used to just collectively call it mota anaj. Because of that, common people think it is not good for digestion. Whereas these millets are nutritious and digestible.”

Nirmala Sitharaman in the Union budget speech 2023 said, “We are the largest producer and second largest exporter of ‘Shree Anna’ in the world. We grow several types of ‘Shree Anna’ such as jowar, ragi, bajra, kuttu, ramdana, kangni, kutki, kodo, cheena, and sama. These have a number of health benefits and have been an integral part of our food for centuries. I acknowledge with pride the huge service done by small farmers in contributing to the health of fellow citizens by growing these ‘Shree Anna’.”

In efforts to make India a global hub for millets, the Indian Institute of Millet Research, Hyderabad will be supported as the Centre of Excellence for sharing best practices, research, and technologies at the international level, said Sitharaman.

Further, the agriculture credit target will be increased to Rs 20 lakh crore with a focus on animal husbandry, dairy, and fisheries, said Sitharaman.

In a new sub-scheme of PM, Matsya Sampada Yojana with a targeted investment of Rs 6,000 crore to further enable activities of fishermen, fish vendors, and micro & small enterprises, improve value chain\ efficiencies and expand the market.

The computerization of 63,000 Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS) with an investment of Rs 2,516 crore was also announced in the Union Budget 2023.

Sitharaman announced the Centre’s plans to set up a massive decentralized storage capacity that will help farmers store their produce and realize remunerative prices through sales at appropriate times.

MoS Agriculture has termed the budget as farmer-friendly. “PM Modi has put forward a proposal in the United Nations in 2018 and 2023 has now been declared as the International Year of Millets. This happened under the leadership of PM Modi. We are proud of that,” he said.

“How these millets will reach the common man is what the government is focusing on. From which our small farmers will benefit. Because millets are not used anywhere as much as it is in India. And if it is exported it will benefit farmers,” said Choudhary.

He also said, “The budget focuses on youth, laborers and farmers, and the common man. Increase in the income tax rebate limit from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 7 lakh under the new tax regime is also a great effort.”

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